A Few Times When Wii Motion Controls Were Actually Good

Like many of us, the Wii motion controls were something special when I first purchased the Wii and got to witness the Wiimote and nunchuck in action.  But, as my gaming library grew, I quickly began to realize that…motion controls, more often than not, meant little more than having to shake the controller in order to attack or do some other arbitrary action, an act that was both ridiculous and tiring.  There are, however, a few select titles that made good use of the Wiimote, and they shall be honored below.  Keep in mind that the motion controls in some of the games mentioned below are far from perfect.  Even so, I’m giving these games an A for effort!

Super Mario Galaxy – Leave it to Nintendo to be the most competent at integrating their own products into their games.  Obviously.  While you do need to shake the controller for a spin attack, I can overlook this small transgression thanks to a few examples of motion controls that made the gameplay a tad more interesting.

Throughout the entire game, star bits can be launched wherever one points the Wiimote at the screen (it’s a wonder the simple ability to point was rarely integrated into anything more than selecting options on a menu).  There are also two uses of the Wiimote that are present in a few special challenges.  In one of these, Mario is in a bubble, and you aim at the screen and blow air at the bubble from different directions to move him around.  Simple, yet ingenious!

The second example…well, I actually despised these challenges, but there were a few times Mario was on a ball, and you had to move him around by pointing the Wiimote upward and tilting it to control his motion.  These were exceedingly difficult and frustrating challenges, but I suppose they fairly accurately mimicked the precarious position one would be in if they, too, chose to balance on a ball.

Skyward Sword – Personally, I loved the motion controls in Skyward Sword, even if a lot of people didn’t, due to the game’s habit of getting out of sync with the Wiimote on a near constant basis.  Anyway, moving on, this is the only game I own that uses the Wii Motion Plus remote.  Thanks to this little beauty, you can now control Link’s sword with pretty much 100% accuracy (when it works anyway).  I absolutely love playing Skyward Sword due to the simple fact that being able to swing your sword with complete freedom is so darn compelling.  Just compare it to the Wii version of Twilight Princess, in which controlling Link’s sword amounts once again to basically shaking the Wiimote around just for basic sword slashes.

Of course, as I mentioned previously, the controls get out of sync quite often, which is more of a problem with the Beetle than the sword.  Though, issues do crop up when Link is attacked while trying to do a skyward strike, making him unable to lift his sword vertically until I’ve swung the controller around a few times to kind of reset things.  Issues aside, I still have a blast with Skyward Sword and kind of wish another Zelda game could be made that utilizes such accurate swordplay.

Metroid Prime Trilogy – These particular controls were originally present only in Metroid Prime 3, but when the entire Metroid Prime Trilogy became available on the Wii, the two GameCube entries in the series were updated with motion controls, as well.  Normally, I would not call this an improvement because I much more prefer normal controllers to anything motion-related.  But…

The Wiimote is, frankly, perfect for the Metroid Prime games.  Being first-person already makes the games feel quite immersive.  And I feel they get that much better when you add in the ability to aim with the Wiimote, a perfect substitute for Samus’ arm-mounted weapons, if you ask me.  As of writing this, I had recently played the Wii version of Metroid Prime, and it was so amazing getting to actually aim and shoot at the screen simply by, you know, just doing it.  It does take some getting used to, as the Wiimote is also necessary for the simple act of turning.  Nevertheless, I personally felt like the Wiimote was a big improvement to the series, and now I can’t imagine playing without it.

Okami – While Okami was originally released on the PS2, where motion controls were not possible, I bought the game after it became available on the Wii.  The added “bonus” of playing the game on the Wii meant that Ammy’s Celestial Brush could now be controlled using the Wiimote, allowing one to summon the wind, slash enemies, and cause plants to sprout with a mere flourish.

Of course, motion controls are far from perfect, so I would be remiss not to mention the fact that Okami could also be a very frustrating game when the motion controls didn’t behave.  I believe many fans of the game would agree with me that one of the worst moments of the game was the dreaded Konohana Shuffle, where you had to draw circles around cherry blossom buds to make them bloom.  Doesn’t sound bad until you experience firsthand just how picky the game was in registering what you had drawn.

Problems aside, when the motion controls did actually work, Okami was a perfect candidate for the motion-control treatment, and it was super fun when one’s drawn creations actually did exactly as hoped for.

And now, dear readers, please share your thoughts in the comments below.  What games do you think utilized the Wii’s motion controls the best?  We’d love to hear from you!