Nintendo Wii Review: Go Play City Sports

Hi there…

Let me start by saying that I don’t like writing negative reviews. Usually I try very hard to find at least a few nuggets within everything I review. So to say I was disappointed in Go Play City Sports is an understatement.

I should also say I’m not a huge console gamer. We’ve had a Wii now for almost a year and we love it, even though we haven’t picked up many games for it yet. Lately we’ve been playing Wii Sports Resort quite a bit and it’s a lot of fun. The controls are well thought out, the games are pretty straightforward to play, and it works with the built-in Mii avatars you create for other games.

So when I had a chance to check out Go Play City Sports, I was thinking it would work in a similar fashion to the other basic Wii games we have. None of the games appeared too far out of what Wii Sports or Wii Sports Resort had already done. Go Play City Sports includes stickball, kickball, street hockey, handball, jump rope, and shootout soccer.

But when I had a chance to fire up the game and play it, I was sorely disappointed by poorly-designed interfaces for creating avatars and actually playing the games themselves.

To get started playing the single player games, you have to create a new player profile. Creating the profile posed a challenge for me. Maybe I’m getting too old or something. Typing a name took forever and once I “accessorized” my avatar, I couldn’t figure out how to move on. I tried every combination of buttons I could think of before I hit the “+” button and finally saved it. Oh, and you’d better really like your avatar because you can’t go back and change it later.

Once you have an avatar, you can go to “My Street” where you can access the various games available. Wander around until you find a kid on the street, hit the “A” button to talk to them. If you want to play the game there, you can say yes or you can hit the “B” button to play another time and try the next kid.

All of the games (except for the soccer one) use both the nunchuk and Wii remote combined. (For soccer, you can also use the Wii Balance Board, though I didn’t try that.) You typically move using the nunchuk control stick and do other actions such as swinging the stick in stickball or pitching using the Wii remote.

Trying out “Handball” for the first time, it was obvious that I have no hand-eye coordination at all as I continually missed hitting the ball when it bounced off the wall. I’m sure it was simply a timing issue with knowing when to swat the ball out of the air, but I can truthfully say I never got it to work deliberately.

“Stickball” and “Kickball” use pretty similar controls. One player (or the computer-controlled opponent) will pitch while the other tries to hit or kick the ball. I found it much easier to play stickball and actually hit the ball than to kick the ball in kickball where I nearly always struck out. Once the ball is in the air, you can get your kids to run around the bases if you have any on base. And if you’re lucky you can score a double or a home run if the stars align in your favor.

The “Jump Rope” game hit me like what I’ve heard Guitar Hero is like, where you see a number of different button and arrow options at the bottom of the screen and have to hit the right one when it is highlighted to keep going. Again, it was pretty obvious I had no hand-eye coordination as I was almost always incorrect in what I was doing.

“Shootout Soccer” was interesting though I hope it would be easier with the Wii Balance Board. You had to lean one way or the other to hit the ball with your head, while missing all the objects flying at you that weren’t actual soccer balls. I’m sure my avatar had a headache with all the stuff smacking him in the forehead. I seemed to hit every non-ball object with uncanny accuracy.

And “Street Hockey” features a three-on-three game of hockey played on a building roof. Of all the games, I felt that this was the most violent, encouraging some serious body-checking not only on your opponents but against the hazard cone in the way of the goal. Again, I never got the hang of how the game would switch players depending on seemingly random criteria as you moved across the “rink”.

Of all the games to play, I found “Stickball” to be the most fun, as it was the easiest to pick up. Move the players in the field with the nunchuk. Hit or pitch the ball with the remote. And have the kids run like mad around the bases using the arrow buttons on the remote.

Maybe my expectations were too high for this game, but I was expecting it to be more like the Wii Sports Resort games which were very easy to pick up and start to figure out. Go Play City Sports seemed like it should have integrated more closely with the existing avatar-creation in the Wii system and focused on making the games more playable. It fell short on both counts for me.

If you’re looking for a new Wii game to try and find Go Play City Sports on sale, I might recommend you give it a try, but it was a bit of a bust for me.

Go Play City Sports is rated E (Everyone) by the ESRB for Comic Mischief.

–Fitz

p.s. Check it out at Amazon:

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Game/Software Review: My Japanese Coach (Nintendo DS)

Hi all!

I don’t usually play a lot of Nintendo DS games. My wife and son usually take the honor of playing these games. However, recently I bought the DS game “My Japanese Coach” for my son to get him more exposure to languages. After putting in the game and getting him setup as a user he was given a basic test to rate if and how much Japanese he knew.

[rating:3.5/4]

The word

Image via Wikipedia

Since my wife speaks some Japanese at home, and I speak some also he actually got a lot of the basic questions which was a nice surprise to me. At this point the game basically is broken into “lessons” and the first section is lessons 1-29. My son moved to lesson 5. For the next hour or so my son was consumed by the games and lessons and moved ahead 3 or so lessons. He retained a lot of the new words (maybe 30 or so) and was speaking and could understand them.

He took off to bed in the normal routine and after charging the DS a bit I took my turn. I have been speaking and studying Japanese off and on for about 16 years or so after I took it in college. I think of myself as mid-intermediate. I set up my account and took the test. I jumped to a lesson and took off.

My initial through (before I even opened up the game) was that this was pretty easy stuff and more for kids to use to start to learn a language. Wow was I wrong, and for the better. I was sucked into fun games, lessons, and training and really started to get into it. At the higher level it goes into verbs, adjectives, and the different writing styles (katakana, hiragana, and some Kanji).

This along with the game able to recognize Japanese writing was a really nice challenge. The writing system goes slow where you trace the characters with the stylus and after you trace it a few times it fades away and you have to write it without help. Even though I know all of the basic characters it really was nice to be able to practice my writing in a controlled manner. Then there are games to backup your writing with recognition games and speed.

I was only playing the game for few hours and I am only 10% in, it looks like! The difficultly slowly raises, but it is a fun and an interactive way to memorize and retain the language. If you have kids or your want to study a language this is a great way to start the adventure. I have only done the Japanese version and do not know how the other versions of the coach compare.

Sayonara…

Andrew

p.s. If you’d like to pick up this game from Amazon, click here:

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Game Review: The Last Guy (PS3/PSN)

Hi all!
Entry Screen
The new PlayStation Network (PSN) game “The Last Guy” just came out about a week ago. This is a fun little title that combines several elements – you collect people stuck in buildings hiding from zombies roaming the streets in various cities, and guide them to the escape zone. This is a top down, Google Maps-like view, and you direct your guy near the various buildings.

[rating: 3/4]
When you get to the buildings, the people come out and follow you in a line. The more people you have in your line, the more stamina you have, and you can perform special techniques like surrounding a building with your long line and any new people escaping the building automatically zoom to the back of the line.

Main Play ScreenAs each city progresses, different types of zombies come out and add different types of challenges. There are basic zombies that just chase you, but give up when they lose sight of you. There are some that guard important areas and can sense you (which you have to trick them). Then there are some really strange ones like spore zombies that if they see you will fill the area with a fog that prevents you from seeing the screen (in normal viewing mode).

Another view you get is basically a thermal view in which you can see green dots for people. The bigger the dots, the more people are in the buildings. This helps you plan our your path and strategy. This view is also helpful when you can’t see (like when the spore zombies attack) or invisible zombies like the chamelThermal Vieweon zombies (which you can see in this mode when they are invisible in normal mode).

With all these things combined, this game is a lot of fun. I ended up going back to try to rescue more people in the time allotted and seeing if I was able to rescue all the VIP people from each level (5 each level in different building/areas)

The visuals are fun and you get to go to famous cities throughout the world. The music is very catchy and has some really fun/weird sound effects and voice-overs.

For $9.99 this title is a great value. If you are not sure, you can download the demo and try out one level. Try it out, and let us know how you liked it here (if you have a PS3 of course).

I give this 3 out of 4 Green Knights.

–Andrew

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