Nintendo's Wii MotionPlus was released back in June, but the company didn't have any first-party games available at the time to show off the new technology. Instead, we were left with third-party titles to do the job. Now that we've been able to get our hands on Wii Sports Resort -- the title that Nintendo is launching the MotionPlus with -- we have a much better idea of what it's like playing with the attachment. The MotionPlus is available now for around £18.
All you'll find in the packaging is the plastic MotionPlus itself and a rubber sleeve to accommodate the Wii remote's new length. The MotionPlus easily hooks on to your Wii remote using two prongs. When inserted, you can slide the rear lock switch so it won't fall out during gameplay. A plastic trap door sits at the base of the device so that you can also hook in your nunchuk controller.
Physically speaking, the MotionPlus occasionally provides a rather clunky user experience. It adds noticeable length to the Wii remote. If you turn it horizontally, it makes hitting the '1' and '2' buttons very difficult. Let's just hope there aren't any MotionPlus games that require you to play in horizontal mode.
As far as we can tell, the MotionPlus doesn't affect the battery life of the Wii remote. Unfortunately, most older Wii rechargeable docking stations won't accommodate the remote's new shape -- you'll probably have to remove the MotionPlus before you recharge. That said, we really like the Energizer 2X Induction Charge Station, which is able to charge a Wii remote with the MotionPlus attached.
For the most part, the MotionPlus offers an impressive 1:1 representation of your movements on-screen. We tested it out with two early games that can use it: Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10 and Grand Slam Tennis. We'll get to our testing with Wii Sports Resort later.
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10 seems to only use the MotionPlus for performing draw and fade shots. During your backswing, you need to twist your wrist left or right in order to make the ball slice. A meter -- unique to those with the accessory -- appears on-screen that measures the slight movements in your grip of the Wii remote.
We couldn't tell the difference when it came to actual swinging, however. It seemed the Wii remote was just as accurate in detecting our pull-back regardless of whether or not the MotionPlus was attached.
During our testing with Grand Slam Tennis, the MotionPlus control was even less impressive. Sure, our player's racket was moving perfectly in tune with our Wii remote before a serve, but that control didn't translate well during actual gameplay. In fact, we found that the MotionPlus made the game even harder to play. When we took off the device, we had a much easier time keeping the ball in play.
When it was time to try out Wii Sports Resort, we instantly realised what Nintendo had in mind for the new technology. For example, the opening scene of the game lets you control your skydiving Mii character with the Wii remote. We turned and twisted the remote, with our Mii mimicking our movements on-screen.
The MotionPlus is surprisingly accurate in Wii Sports Resort's table tennis -- the game interprets top and back spin impressively and even allows you to fade the ball. Archery is another area where the MotionPlus shines -- you'll be awed by the realistic feeling of pulling back on the bow.
It's perhaps the Frisbee game that best displays the MotionPlus' true potential, though. You'll have fun watching your Mii character with the 1:1 replication before you toss the disc. While it takes some getting used to, the simulation does a very accurate job of allowing you to aim and toss a Frisbee into a bull's-eye area.
Not everything in Wii Sports Resort shows off the capabilities of the MotionPlus, though. The rehashed bowling game appears to have received nothing more than a cosmetic overhaul.
It's difficult to make a recommendation that you buy or don't buy the Nintendo Wii MotionPlus. While you may not love the way it feels in your hand, you'll be forced to use it if you want to play games like Wii Sports Resort and the upcoming Red Steel 2.
Ultimately, the value and innovation that the MotionPlus can potentially provide lies in the hands of the developers who program for it. It appears the technology will open up to a wide range of uses, so we'll just have to see how it's eventually applied.
Priced at around £18, you'll most probably only feel the monetary burden should you choose to purchase additional units, since the accessory comes bundled with games like Wii Sports Resort, available for around £40. There's no denying, however, that the MotionPlus does add some cash onto the cost of owning a Wii.
We'd like to see the MotionPlus built into a new Wii remote, but Nintendo has yet to announce anything like that.
Additional editing by Charles Kloet