Tag Archives: Wii Sports Resort

Hitting reset repeatedly in Skipping Stones to Lonely Homes


Once, when I was younger and spending the early hours of the morning crabbing off a pier overlooking the Atlantic Ocean with my father, I took a walk while the traps soaked, found a small, isolated cut of shore, and started skipping stones. At first, I was rubbish, getting only two skips or ker-plunking the rock on the first toss, but after enough practice and searching for the smoothest, most flat rocks this side of New Jersey, I was hitting bounce streaks of five or more. Which, if you didn’t know, is extremely satisfying. There’s something magical about seeing such a heavy thing dance across the water like it’s flying with the wind before it loses steam and descends into the watery unknown.

Skipping Stones to Lonely Homes is not actually a stone-skipping simulator, though somebody out there should totally make that game. Actually, I think there was one mini-game in Wii Sports Resort that had you side-slicing rocks (or discs?) across a lake or through rings for points, but even with the updated Wii MotionPlus controller it was still tricky, and I had to constantly remind myself to not let go of the controller when performing the throwing motion. Instead, Alan Hazelden‘s on-the-surface simple puzzle game is about a sailor who has washed ashore and needs materials to fix his ship. In order to find these essentials, you’ll need to skip stones (or push rocks as I saw it) across the water to manipulate lily pads and reach other chunks of land. Sounds easy, but let me assure you it is not; I got no further than the fourth screen before my brain hurt.

Skipping Stones to Lonely Homes did not magically appear out of thin air. Hazelden appears to be a rather prolific independent developer, and an earlier game of his called Mirror Isles looks nearly identical to his latest creation. Except there’s a hypnotic looping soundtrack and has you swapping places with a second character via teleporting mirrors to maneuver around the various islands. It seems just as deceptively difficult. The minimalist graphics vibe is fine, as it is really the puzzles that stand out as the things to pay attention to. You can hit “Z” to undo your last step or “R” to reset to the last checkpoint, and I hit these keys a great number of times.

Give it a go. Maybe you’ll get farther then the fourth screen. Perhaps the fifth screen is the last and where all the ship materials are, or maybe it just gets more punishing from there. At the very least, open Skipping Stones to Lonely Homes in your browser and tab away to do whatever it is you actually do during your time in front of the computer, that way you can work, but listen to the soothing, calming tones of ocean waves lapping at sandy shores. I’ve had it going the entire time I wrote this blog post.

Games Completed in 2011, #12 – Pilotwings Resort

So, I recently beat Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge, and it’s a game I definitely will have fun reviewing, seeing as it was so much fun to play. However, I did end up finishing Pilotwings Resort long before it–and finishing is a loose term, but we’ll get to that in a moment–meaning I should do these things in order and talk about flying around an island for a bit before we get to sailing from island back to island back to another island.

When I bought my Nintendo 3DS, I felt a great impulse to at least get a game with it. Games and systems, y’know. They kind of go together like…games and systems. Now, fighting games are okay in my book, but I already played a bunch of Street Fighter IV on my Xbox 360, and so the next game that jumped out to me as somewhat decent was Combat of Giant Dinosaur 3D. Nah, just kidding. That title is gonna be extinct faster that those reptilian beasts it represents. My pick was Pilotwings Resort, and I was even alerted by a friendly GameStop employee that I bought the last copy available then for the public lepers. Cool.

I’ve played a small amount of Wii Sports Resorts over the past few years. Or, I’ve at least watched Tara go for a jog around Wuhu Island plenty of times to get a feel for the place. It’s cartoony and safe and colorful and filled with all the staples of a luxury getaway resort, and Nintendo decided to revisit it with the Pilotwings Resort launch title, a game all about flying above, below, and all around. The game is basically a collection of flying challenges, with three standard vehicles to pilot: a biplane, rocket belt, and hang glider. Earning points and doing well in these events will net you stars, and once a certain amount of stars have been reached you can move on to the next group of challenges. These go from bronze difficulty to platinum. The challenges range from flying through hoops and shooting colored balloons to rescuing baby UFOs for the mothership and free-fallin’ in a squirrel suit. They last about a few minutes long each, and you can always replay them to better your score; unfortunately, that only matters for advancing forward as there’s no sort of online scoreboards in place. And don’t bother trying to get better at controlling the rocket belt; it’s brutal and cruel and powered by the blood of some great demon living deep beneath the island’s volcano.

After that, you’ll be able to enjoy some free flying around Wuhu Island. With some limitations, of course. You’re given a strict time limit and a goal of collecting a slew of items: rings, Mii trophies, balloons, so on. It always feels like once you get into the groove of flying around and collecting things, the time limit has just run out. So the time limit is just a way to force replayability into a game already lacking things to do. Plus, different items show up on the island depending on the vehicle you pilot and the time of day. It’s a little ridiculous.

Unfortunately, that’s it for the game in terms of things to do. The graphics are on par with its Wii first cousin, and the 3D works perfectly for me when just up a teeny tiny bit. I tried turning it all the way up, but quickly found myself disoriented, especially since I had to constantly look away from the top screen to the bottom screen for its handy map. The music’s fun and chirpy, especially when you make a great landing, but otherwise doesn’t stand out as anything perfect.

If Pilotwings Resort had been included free with the Nintendo 3DS–like Wii Sports was for the Nintendo Wii–it’d be a much better game. At $40.00, it’s not long enough to be enjoyable, and this plastic flight lands before you know it, right back in its case, right back in your box of games you’ve played and will probably never play again.

There’s fun to be had in Wii Sports Resort

I could never imagine playing Wii Sports Resort (or its early mutation, Wii Sports) by myself. The fun of sharing your greatest triumph, your biggest downfall, your oddest moment…it is moot when the spaces to your left and right are blank.

Over the weekend, the Girlfriend and I visited her brother and his wife and played some Wii into the wee hours of the night/morning. No, I’m not apologizing for that one. Despite having to share a single Wiimote, we all had a blast. Because even though the games within Wii Sports Resort are more or less mini-games, things of very little variety, the people you play them with makes all the difference.

We played some bowling, basketball, archery, and dog frisbee, and the most fun–group-wise–seems to be bowling. In the original Wii Sports, you just bowled. Simple as that. Here, Nintendo has added some extra features to really help enhance the experience. You can bowl regularly, you can bowl against 100 pins (which make a beautifully addicting sound as they all flip-flop away under the weight of a striiiiiiiike), and you can bowl around obstacles, as shown in the picture above.

Alas, I came in last in each category thanks to my constant curving of the ball. Stupid wrists. Yes, I need lots of practice, but that’s okay. Sometimes it’s not so much fun being a pro at a game like Wii Sports Resort, hitting strike after strike after strike. You can’t laugh at those moments.

But taking five minutes to position yourself just right so that you can narrowly miss the moving obstacles ahead only to toss the bowling ball directly into the gutter?

That‘s where it counts.