FlingSmash Hands-On Impressions

This Wii MotionPlus-only side-scroller has you flinging the remote to bounce an adorable blob around the screen

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When Nintendo's Wii MotionPlus accessory debuted last year, a lot of the early games that used the device were sports titles. After all, the control schemes were already there, and the MotionPlus was a relatively easy way to make the virtual swing of a tennis racket or a golf club more true to life. But the number of non-sports games that employ the MotionPlus has steadily grown, giving players a chance to swing their Wii Remotes more accurately in a number of different genres. One of the latest is FlingSmash, a game we played earlier today at Nintendo's Q1 World Summit in San Francisco.

FlingSmash is a side-scroller that, at first glance, looks like it should be a cutesy run-and-jump platformer. You play as a yellow blob named Zip, an adorable-looking cross between Pikachu and Jigglypuff. But you're not leaping across gaps here. Instead, you swing the remote to fling Zip across the environment, and he uses that momentum to bounce like a pinball on obstacles and the borders of the screen. The camera is constantly moving to the left independent of you, so you need to be quick with the way you collect points by smashing targets.

Those controls are almost ridiculously simple. See an enemy? Swing your remote in its direction to smash it. See a power-up block? Swing your remote in its direction to smash it. The difference between doing this with a normal remote and with one equipped with a MotionPlus is that the angles and velocity you swing with are much more precise. Blind waggling won't get the job done; you actually need to aim each shot, often with a good deal of setup. Hazards are thrown into the mix to test your skills even further, including midlevel minigames that pause the action to have you reach numbered orbs in sequential order, and a challenge that caps off each level that has you timing a single shot to hit a number of moving targets.

Later levels ramp up the difficulty by playing around with the physics. The Zip you play as during the first two worlds is a light and bouncy character who jumps all over the screen, but when you get to the third world (out of eight total), you're controlling a Zip made of solid metal. The result is that every fling matters much more, because he travels more slowly and doesn't cover quite as much space. It's hardly a Mega Man-style exercise in side-scrolling masochism, but it's decidedly more challenging than earlier levels. Fortunately, a number of power-ups are there for the taking, like one that has you explode in size to become a giant force of destruction.

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Other features in FlingSmash include support for two-player co-op for the entire game, and boss fights that cap each of the eight worlds. If you're a south paw, you'll be happy to know that the game supports a left-handed mode, which is essentially the same game, only the screen moves to the right instead of the left. Gamers of either handedness can expect FlingSmash to arrive in stores this summer.

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