Wii Sports Club Review

Not exactly the country club.

Wii Sports is an undeniably important game to the whole of gaming history. Its status as a pack-in with the original Wii was responsible for getting the console into millions of homes (and breaking a few TVs), but it also signaled a significant change in player demographics that had been a long time coming. As the Wii U struggles to gain the sort of consumer traction its predecessor had, Nintendo has reissued the now-classic Wii Sports package, updated with a bevy of new bells and whistles. But while Wii Sports was forward-thinking in its ability to engage a different set of game players, Wii Sports Club is a clunky attempt to bring the title up to the standards of current games.

Wii Sports Club features the five original sports from its predecessor: Tennis, Bowling, Golf, Baseball, and Boxing. On a fundamental level, these play similarly to the original game, requiring the player to perform various motions to simulate the acts of swinging a racket, throwing a ball, or launching a punch. The Wii MotionPlus (or a Wii Remote with Wii MotionPlus built-in) is mandatory, and the additional range of gyroscopic control it provides adds a little bit more depth to these games: in Tennis, for example, it's a lot easier to control the type of swings you get than it was with the original Wii Remote, leading to greater control of the ball. Other games utilize the GamePad: in Golf, you position the GamePad on the floor, where it depicts the ball; you then swing the Wii Remote over the pad to hit the ball. Baseball lets you use the GamePad's gyroscopic features to pitch and catch the ball, which is a clever and fun new addition to the formula. For the most part, however, Wii Sports Club is all about that time-tested Wii Remote waggling.

There are no words for that mustache.

Besides the main games, Wii Sports Club also features mini-games that put twists on the various sports, like launching a tennis ball to hit whack-a-mole targets, trying to bowl down unusual 100-pin patterns, and playing bingo by launching golf balls onto a grid. These games can be played solo or with friends (though not online), and make for a nice distraction if you get bored of the standard sports. These games are all quite short, however, so don't expect to be enthralled by them for very long.

One of the selling points of Wii Sports Club is its online features, and unfortunately, it's here where the collection falters the hardest. When you start the game, you're asked to join a regional "club" of your personal choosing. This isn't restricted by physical geography; I live in California, but I joined the Iowa club because I grew up in that state. You're supposed to socialize with other members of your club, forming friendships and rivalries with other territory clubs, but such socialization is uncommon because the online experience is simply not good at all.

The stands wouldn't be so empty if this were the real Wimbledon!

For starters, online play is restricted to very basic rules for each sport, with only bowling featuring any sort of significant rule variations to choose from. Finding opponents is also a challenge. I'd log on during prime time in the evenings, weekends and weekdays, pick my sport of choice, and be sent to a practice room where I'd wait for an opponent for a few minutes before being told the game couldn't find anyone and I would be booted back to the menu. I had the most luck finding people to play Tennis, but trying to find a person to play 100-pin Bowling was like pulling teeth. Looking at the game's Miiverse, I saw plenty of folks discussing their online games with others, so why wasn't I getting any sporting funtimes?

It has much to do with the game's netcode. Wii Sports Club has serious, pervasive problems with lag and stuttering during games. Players in the Miiverse universally reported the same issues, making online play a bust. But beyond the online, how is Wii Sports Club at recapturing the magic of the original Wii Sports and getting non-typical players engaged in the game? I invited a few people I knew who aren't frequent game-players to partake in some virtual sporting with me. While they all seemed to enjoy the games--especially the new mini-games--the GamePad options proved troublesome. (There was a lot of worry about people and pets accidentally stepping on the controller during golf in particular.) There's simply no substantial improvement here--nothing to make the re-release a valuable upgrade over the original.

The greens are always greener on the other side.

On top of everything is a rather confusing pricing structure: You can obtain the game as either a free download or in a retail package, but the downloadable version only lets you play for a limited time before you have to purchase a $1.99 24-hour "day pass" or unlimited access to individual sports for $9.99 each. The package version doesn't have any such restrictions, save for the minor inconvenience of having to take the disc in and out of the console, so why not offer a simple, full-access download version as well?

Wii Sports Club is emblematic of Nintendo's strange and silly approach to online games and distribution, given its unintuitive interface for finding sports partners, the consistently poor connection quality, and a pricing strategy that makes little sense. It works a lot better as a local game, but even then, it's not a massive improvement over the original title as a pick-up-and-play party pleaser. It's still great fun, particularly in short bursts, but it's hard to justify plunking down extra cash for Wii Sports Club.

The Good
Easy-to-learn controls
Simple, fun games everyone can understand
Enhanced motion controls and new mini-games add greater precision
The Bad
Online play is garbage
Awkward pricing structure
The GamePad detracts as much as it enhances
6
Fair
About GameSpot's Reviews

About the Author

Wii Sports is the only game that practically everybody in Heidi Kemps' large extended family has played. She was eager to see if Wii Sports Club would forge that same connection. Alas...

Discussion

20 comments
jerusaelem
jerusaelem

The old folks at the retirement center are going to LOVE this game! 


...for at least 20 minutes until all of their meds kick in and/or Matlock comes on.

evenger8899
evenger8899

Sounds like WiiSports all over again

so_hai
so_hai

"The GamePad detracts as much as it enhances"

I don't really understand this comment. Was there any detail as to what it enhanced?

wowwow27
wowwow27

its still a fun party game, even if its dated. I'm sure people you would never have expected to ever pick up a video game have played it at least once.

Nev3rtime
Nev3rtime

I never liked the original Wii Sport. Wi sport: resort was a big improvement. Judging from the free 1 day trial of this game I can tell this latest rendition couldn't satisfied me for about 10 minutes and recycling old games made it seem lazy next to Resort.

There's a place for mini-game collections, and I understand their appeal, but this game didn't grab me at all. I didn't try the online but the games lack any interest to me. Nintendo land and even Wii Fit seem like far better games. In fact Wii Sports really demonstrates how good Nintendo Land is by comparison.

MigGui
MigGui

it seems nintendo invested, like, 15 minutes in porting this game from one console to another

DuaMn
DuaMn

There is actually a word for that mustache: Pedostache

PyreofKoL
PyreofKoL

Yeah, I figured the pricing thing was gonna be an issue. Totally agree, much as I enjoy the games themselves. I particularly like to fire up tennis and bowling if I've been binging on a video game for a while and need to shake off the cobwebs. 

GameBeaten
GameBeaten

This release would have been worth it if it had included the Wii Sports Resort games as well since I never got that one.

complacentcouch
complacentcouch

"Drops the ball" 

Such a bad pun I almost wii'd myself with laughter. 

Patohua1
Patohua1

The Green Greens are always greener on the other green =D

Zepthire95
Zepthire95

So basically, if you are in the majority of people who had a Wii before the Wii U, stick with the original and if you are one of the few people who doesn't own the original, just pick it up cheap and play that instead.

btroof
btroof

I assume the Online play will pick up over time. Everybody still playin MK8

b74kd3th
b74kd3th

"Online play is garbage" that sums up the Wii u,I liked his choice of words also

Gamerno6666
Gamerno6666

"Online play is garbage"

Wow. Harsh... I like it.

Gelugon_baat
Gelugon_baat

I find the premium digital options disgusting. Indeed, Nintendo doesn't seem to be able to justify why these options don't have the same value as the package version.

Wii Sports Club More Info

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  • First Released
    • Wii U
    Wii Sports Club lets you play you favorite Wii Sports games on the Wii U console and take the competition online.
    7.1
    Average User RatingOut of 9 User Ratings
    Please Sign In to rate Wii Sports Club
    Developed by:
    Nintendo
    Published by:
    Nintendo
    Genres:
    Sports
    Content is generally suitable for ages 10 and up. May contain more cartoon, fantasy or mild violence, mild language and/or minimal suggestive themes.
    Everyone 10+
    All Platforms
    Mild Violence