Wii Sports Club is Nintendo’s Wii U port of the original Wii Sports collection of games. Five games in total will be released over time: Bowling, Tennis, Golf, Baseball, and Boxing. Along with Bowling, the other game that launched with Wii Sports Club was Tennis. The original Wii Sports version was enjoyable, but the simple nature of the regular Wii Remote didn’t allow for much nuance to the game. With Wii Sports Club Tennis adding Wii Motion Plus support along with online play and HD visuals, I hoped that this would be the definitive edition. Did the game live up to those expectations?
The same benefits of the Wii Sports Club version of Bowling are carried over here. Online play functions well and allows you to mess around as you wait for opponents to be found, or occasionally for the game to glitch out and not find anyone. Unlike Bowling, Tennis is much more interactive between the players, which can lead to some issues with lag. These weren’t too frequent, but if you get matched with someone too far away, you might have some latency problems during your match. The HD upgrade is slightly more noticeable in this game, but it still isn’t a major improvement; don’t expect to be blown away. Wii Motion Plus does add something to the game, but it also removed a bit of the simplicity that made the original such a classic. There were many times where my Wii Remote wasn’t being registered properly, which caused a sudden change of plan for my shot, or just made it fling wildly out of bounds. I wouldn’t say that the addition is a problem overall, but I was hoping for more than what the finished product offers.
One of the smaller additions made to the game was adding the stumble shot. If you have to struggle to hit the ball, then you will stumble and hit the ball slowly and higher than normal. If your opponent hits their shot well, then it will blast past you, much like the perfect shot you can get while serving. This adds a bit of strategy that the original game lacked and helps keep games lively. If the Wii Motion Plus support functioned better it would really shine, but as it is, it’s just a nice addition to the base game.
Yet again, the most fun will be had in the training mini-games, but the lack of the previous games is felt even more with Wii Sports Club Tennis. The three games on offer, Ring Master, Tennis Moles, and Runner Ducky are far more similar to each other than the Bowling mini-games. They are still fun to hop in and compete for the highest score, but they all rely on the same mechanics to win; choosing between them can feel like deciding between vanilla, french vanilla, and vanilla bean ice cream. Considering how much time I spent in the original Wii Sports Tennis training games, I really wish Nintendo had included them as well.
Wii Sports Club Tennis is available for the same high price as Bowling, at $9.99 for unlimited access. Considering that nearly everyone on the planet has played Wii Sports already (and for free), it feels like Nintendo is reaching a bit by asking for that price. Much like Wii Sports Club Bowling, I have trouble recommending the game unless you don’t have Wii Sports lying around and/or online play is an essential feature for you.