Review: Wii Sports Club

With just over 80 million units of software sold, Wii Sports and its premise of motion gaming was synonymous with the original Wii's success in 2006 and beyond. In 2009, Nintendo released the sequel, Wii Sports Resort, which went on to sell over 31 million copies. So with a return to the original sports, is Wii Sports Club a continuation of its predecessors good form, or does it come up short?

Ditching the physical release of its predecessor, Wii Sports Club titles are downloadable purchases from the Wii U eShop priced at £1.79 for 24 hours or £8.99 for permanent ownership. It's an approach that you'll either love or loathe, although Nintendo president Satoru Iwata wouldn’t rule out the possibility of a retail release during the company’s recent investor Q&A.

Note: tennis and bowling are the only sports currently available for purchase, with golf, baseball and boxing launching in 2014. This review will therefore focus on the current releases only.

From the off, Wii Sports Club maintains the sunny disposition from the original games. The added power of the Wii U isn't vastly used but the extra fidelity high definition affords makes everything slicker. Menus are now clearer and have a nicer sheen to them and the games benefit, especially in tennis where the ball and your racquet position are now much easier to identify when the pace starts to quicken.

Undeniably, tennis still remains a highlight from the original Wii Sports, a game fundamentally based around timing and the notion that tennis seems to work so well as a video game - perhaps stemming from Pong in the 1980's? In Wii Sports Club there is immediately more finesse to each shot due to the advancements of MotionPlus over the original Wii remote controllers. The mechanics of the game and automated movement of Mii's remain, yet you can now slice, drop-shot and lob more effectively through MotionPlus. I did have to practice this a lot to consistently perform such moves and there are a few enjoyable mini game practice modes involving moles, rings and a duck! All of these we're good fun and helped with learning the new control mechanics.

However, due to the effectiveness of time-based swings of the controller, most games reverted to the manic swings seen in the original game, which is a real shame. This does change when you go online though as many of the higher quality players are more technically advanced.

The online mode is Club's biggest improvement over the original title and tennis plays well if you meet someone local or with a good connection. Without these aspects the games can lag, making hitting the ball a game in itself! Thankfully you can choose who you want to play with, although the friend integration is archaic. This is a huge flaw in the title and one that we hope is patched in the future. No invites, messaging, lobbies or voice chat means that you have to sit and wait until a friend 'appears' on a list as ready to play. It can be a frustrating exercise and one which circumvents the ease of playing with or competing against friends. Online tennis is also hampered by its scoring system which relies on a first to seven points game, and when you've won, that's it. One game at a time and no option for a re-match means the game becomes tiresome quickly as you spend your time in the menus over and over again.

Wii Sports ClubScripted taunts exist but you can create your own.

This is further hammered home in bowling where, unlike tennis, you can only play online on your own (unlike tennis which supports two local players in an online match). This seems a strange omission as bowling was the game that seemed to take the world by storm upon release. Thankfully, Nintendo haven't meddled with the bowling mechanics at all, which remain solid and enjoyable.

Ironically, the Wii U's poster child, the GamePad, sits on the sidelines in both games; displaying multiple random Miiverse comments and enabling you to pick comments to initiate through D-Pad presses on the Wii Remote.

Golf slips into Wii Sports Club effortlessly using the same mechanics found on the original Wii. What is offered is instant accessibility and rewarding, deep mechanics. I found the Wii remote swings to be slightly amended to be more sensitive and the added Gamepad integration was welcomed offering a truer representation of the sport. Hitting the ball becomes almost tactile with GamePad/remote integration and the ability to add curve to your driving is much easier with the added visual representation of your club. Looking down to concentrate on where and how you hit the ball and then following your shot ‘into’ the TV never ceases to impress. In regards to control and immersion, golf proves that the asymmetrical gameplay concept can work well in the right context.

With nine original Wii Sports courses present as well as nine lakeside holes (from the NES golf title), you’ll have your work cut out to master all of the settings. With added friend/worldwide leaderboards, longevity is assured but more locations (Wuhu Island from Resort for instance) would have been welcome. Nintendo have also added three training mini games involving putting on the green, chipping onto areas of the green and driving long distances onto a target. All of the games are fun, challenging and offer players the chance to improve technique as well as post high scores online.

If you want to play online you can play one, three or nine holes. Although the three and nine hole games represent competitive/ranked games. You can only play online as a single player although the slow nature of golf lends itself to this approach. At the time of review, online games were plentiful and the competition ranged from dire to extremely competitive. No doubt the quality of opponent will continue to improve with time.

I have now fully explored all of the games currently available with both old and younger generations and found that, in all of the titles, we got more enjoyment out of the new approaches. We all found the games slicker in regards to visuals and control but still with that great ‘Wii Sports’ feel. To see such tweaks noticed by some of the 'casual crowd' was a surprise, especially as they fully appreciated the nuances in tennis and the GamePad integration in golf. Asking them about online, they were impressed that they could see scores against friends and worldwide on leaderboards but we all found it harder to play against friends. Infact, getting into games seemed to be a constant barrier as you either have to keep on redeeming passes, buy the games outright through the eShop as well as wait for the game to 'gather data' when starting the game up. It seems strange that Nintendo are putting barriers up before playing - especially when the games are perfect for quick gaming sessions.

Wii Sports Club
Bowling mini games and the main mode remain as timeless as ever.

If you enjoyed the original Wii Sports, Wii Sports Club will be right up your street, offering you a slicker package and a way to compete locally and globally in the comfort of your own home. Unfortunately, for every step forward Wii Sports Club makes, the archaic online approach to playing with friends holds it back from being what should be the best social game on the system.

N-Europe Final Verdict

The classic tennis, bowling and golf games from Wii Sports mark their return with slicker motion controls, GamePad integration and HD visuals. But the limited online-friend setups and time it takes to get into games defies the greater potential locked within.

  • Gameplay4
  • Playability5
  • Visuals3
  • Audio3
  • Lifespan3
Final Score



HD visuals add a layer of sheen
New modes are fun
Classic Wii sports gameplay
Clubs aspect is a good idea


Pricing model may not suit all
Lack of real GamePad functionality
No real sense of an online community
Lack of online options

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