Almost immediately after finishing my review of Nyko’s Wand+ peripheral, rumblings of Nintendo’s own first-party all-in-one Wii Remote and Motion Plus solution caught my attention. The pre-release cover art for their new game FlingSmash clearly proclaimed that it included a “Bonus Wii Remote Plus” inside. The concept of adding the delicate inner workings of the rather bulky add-on within the original Wii-mote footprint had already been aptly proven by the aforementioned Wand+, but I was no less thrilled when an early review unit showed up on my doorstep.
Perhaps unsurprisingly the Wii Remote Plus quickly proved itself to be an even more finely tuned controller than its third-party analogue, offering all the functionality needed for Wii Motion Plus-enabled gaming in a single elegant package. Aside from a slight variation in branding (the addition of the words “Wii Motion Plus INSIDE” printed subtly below the indicator lights) and a nearly imperceptible sliver of additional weight, this newest iteration looks and feels perfectly identical to its high quality forebear.
That is to say that we Wii Remote Plus is a perfectly constructed, well calibrated controller that integrates Motion Plus technology without that unsightly dongle. Obviously this is the Wii-mote of the future, and Nintendo has even gone so far as to include it with their limited edition red 25th anniversary console.
Therefore my sole consternation as I surveyed my newest acquisition concerned not the controller itself, but the game that it sought to showcase. Nintendo had already proven that the sure way to move a less-than-stellar game was to bundle it with a controller. (Wii Play, anyone?) So my expectations were fairly low for FlingSmash.
As it turns out, I was right not to get my hopes up.
FlingSmash combines the classic Nintendo motif of a mythical hero saving a troubled land from a supernatural foe along with a minimalistic control scheme in a game that doesn’t quite scream “tech demo,” but fails to be a truly compelling experience. Top-knotted yellow puffball Zip (and/or his female equivalent Pip) seeks to free tropical Suthon Island from the grip of the evil Omminus by… bouncing wildly around the screen.
Yeah, that’s pretty much it.
Indeed, my friends, you traverse the game’s limited side-scrolling levels by flinging Zip and watching him smash into the brick obstacles and enemies in his path. Hell, if nothing else we can say that the title performs as advertised. Admittedly, the game sometimes tries to switch things up with boss battles, power-ups and mini-games, but even when it plays with the core mechanic by making Zip either lighter or heavier, thus affecting his speed and bounce, it still comes off as more of the same.
Unlike its spiritual predecessors – a storied collection of classic ball-and-paddle video games – FlingSmash seldom made me feel like I was in control of the action. Instead I simply waved my arm madly and just counted on Zip’s bouncy nature to make sure he connected with the block/monster/medal/star I hoped to bop. (Which, come to think of it, seemed to work out more often than not.) This coupled with the incredibly short playtime of the core gaming experience should serve to make it an outright title to avoid, and yet I’ll advise otherwise.
The bottom line is that at its $50 price point you are scoring a shiny new Wii Remote Plus at regular price and a pack-in game for a mere $10 more. As unimpressed as I was with the experience, I can still say that FlingSmash easily feels like the equivalent of about 10 bones worth of content. It ain’t much, but I have to admit that it makes for a fairly priced bundle.
The game itself may not be a must-own, but it allows late adopters a chance to try out Motion Plus gaming for a very low entry price. Plus you never know – perhaps you will find some measure of gaming zen in watching a yellow spheroid careen off countless blocks.
And who am I to judge?
WIRED: the new Wii Remote Plus looks and works like a dream, comes bundles with a game that employs the Motion Plus functionality, good price point
TIRED: when judged on its own merits FlingSmash is a rather uninspired gaming experience
Review materials provided by Nintendo of America