Previews

Hands-on: Wii Sports

Tennis, baseball, golf and flying with the Wii-mote - and not one single titter about that name

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From what we've seen, it's not the most sophisticated thing in the world and is probably best described as Monkey Golf with a fancy controller. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but it's probably got limited appeal.

BASEBALL

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Same story here too - although it's worth pointing out that Nintendo's deliberately marketing its Wii Sports package as a mass-appeal arcade style diversion with sporting allusions, rather than anything resembling a sim.

You can probably guess what Baseball entails by now: Use the remote as if it's a bat and swing away. Again, simplifying matters hugely, the game measures the speed of your swing and converts it into distance on the screen - the further you thwack it across the field, the more likely you are to score a home run. There're no fancy complications or cut-scenes if you do though - it's simply a case of the onscreen HUD marking one of your ten innings with the appropriate icon and you're off again. Your longest strike and number of innings is recorded at the end of the game and that's it.

AIRPLANE

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Finally, Airplane stands as the oddity in Nintendo's Wii Sports line-up. Although it's collected alongside Tennis, Baseball and Golf on the show floor, it doesn't really bear much resemblance to the games currently confirmed for the Sports label. In fact, Airplane plays more like a Wii-enabled version of Pilotwings - which should be plenty to make fans clamouring for the classic franchise's return get at least slightly damp. The demo sees you guiding a plane through the skies over a sparsely rendered island, skirting through hoops for points in time honoured fashion.

Despite the lack of graphical lustre - especially compared to the genuinely sumptuous and next-genny Super Mario Galaxy, Zelda and Metroid - Airplane plays brilliantly, demonstrating yet another means of utilising Nintendo's curious controller for an entirely new way to play. Holding the remote between your thumb and index finger like a paper airplane, you steer by tilting to the left and right and rise and fall by dipping back and forward. You can even perform a barrel-roll by tilting one way then quickly snapping back in the opposite direction. Although it's slightly awkward and alien at first, it soon feels like second nature. In the short time we had, we managed to skirt under bridges, scale mountains and brush rooftops with ease.

If Nintendo fleshes this one out, it'll be a damn fine and genuinely engaging addition to Wii Sports. Of course, if they opt to turn it into a fully fledge Pilotwings game, we won't be complaining either.

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