The initial feel of the new Wii peripherals is surprisingly good. As
ever, Nintendo's design philosophy has resulted in a solid, quality build
that combines the requisite lightness with an impression of durability.
Nintendo has had to increase the Wii Love peripherals capacity to compensate for the larger European consumer. The male
peripheral ("Miimote") is comfortably designed, with the Wiimote fitting
snugly into the top of the unit, and the female peripheral ("Fiimote")
seems similarly well thought out. Both 'motes have an expansion port for
the nunchuck for dual wielding, but this is recommended only for the
advanced user, as the analogue stick is awkwardly placed.
After attachment and adjustment, the true beauty of the Wii Love
package becomes evident. Softly easing the disk into the machine, you are
greeted by the chirpy ambient music and pastel shades we have come to
expect from Nintendo. A short introduction guides you through calibrating
the Miimote, with a few questions to help the device work better. The use
of Mii characters is slightly off-putting, though it does help tie this
peripheral in with the "family" of Nintendo titles, and would help new
users familiarise themselves with the capabilities of their new kit.
Users are introduced to the Miimote (or Fiimote) through a series of
gentle exercises, tightening muscles on command and swaying. The
sensitivity and softness of the device is really quite startling, and one
of the highlights of the package.
The main activities are where Wii Love really shines. The male
orientated ones include entertaining subgames such as "Catch the Donut",
"Poke the Penguin" and my favourite, "Holes of Glory". These are quite
simple on early levels, becoming increasingly difficult as the game
progresses, with pictures of Margaret Thatcher or your mother flashing up
to reduce blood flow, and thus your ability to catch, prod or poke the
requisite item or animal. The male games can be played alongside the
female ones, thus allowing couples to play together, swapping scores and
competing up against each other.
The game also includes a full position trainer, where you (and a
partner if desired) try to follow on screen instructions and assume the
same position as the Mii's on screen, with the Mii/Fiimotes monitoring
your success. This was a lot of fun, and very educational, although the
Japanese version has several seemingly impossible positions that you
would have to train and practise to achieve, aiding longevity, which is
the holy grail of these kinds of games.
The main usage of this package however has to be through the specially
created Wii Love channel, where people all over the world of various
shapes and sizes can meet, chat and use their Wiis together. This
functionality was inaccessible to me, using a japanese import, but the
little I could see, I liked. In the full European release high definition
video transfer and headset compatibility should make this section one of
the most popular of the package. Similarly, the tracking of basic
physical attributes, volumes and scores online on the leaderboards is a
lot of fun.
One clever feature that caught my eye is a continuance and elaboration of
the "age" scale from Brain Training and Wii Fit. The Wii Love package
estimates your "slag age" (which cannot be below 18 here; 13 in Japan)
and encourages you to increase it by the available exercises or random
To those concerned that the Wii Love will be a "one-night-stand" to be
discarded once the novelty has worn off, I can confidently assert that
this is not the case. The addictiveness in improving scores, unlocking
further minigames, items, locations and partners should not be
underestimated. Although fully featured out of the box, these unlockables
add a lot of replay value, and you will find yourself coming back in them
again and again. A European-culture themed package is badly needed
however - some of the Japanese objects and activities were bizarre and
distasteful to my personal palate, making parts of the game slightly
nauseating. Nintendo have assured gamers this is well in hand.
Overall, the Wii Love package is probably worth the £69.99/$80 price
tag. The Mii/Fiimotes are well designed and easy to clean, and the new
nunchuck controller coming out should solve the issues regarding the
original's girth and shape, which only make it suitable for a handful of
people. The new 'motes are comfortable and non-chafing even with constant
use; it is easy to forget you are wearing one, which can be embaressing.
Nintendo continue to forge new territory, making a "games machine" less
about simple, preprogrammed activities and more of a "lifestyle machine".
This fun and engaging package rightly belongs up there in Nintendo's
Pantheon with Wii Fit, and just increases my eagerness to see Miyamoto's
rumoured Wii Dump prototype, previewing early next year.