The Six Best Sports Games for the Wii

I’m not a big sports guy. I don’t play sports, I don’t watch sports, and if all professional sports were to disappear from the world I wouldn’t notice for a very long time. And yet, there are sports video games that are exciting to me as real sports are to others. Here are the best ones I’ve played.
****1/2
This game is everything a sports game should be. The controls are simple and intuitive, the action is immersive and exhilarating and the experience is fresh. The game sets the player up as a sort of coach god, able to control players singly but also to move players around and have them work together. It’s an original approach to soccer games that takes what is best about the others and adds some things you haven’t seen before. Just buy it already.

****1/2
Nintendo’s proof-of-concept game for the MotionPlus add-on does a great job of exploring the capabilities of a more sensitive Wii remote. [i]Resort[/i] is not just a collection of simple mini-games; sports like golf and table tennis are impressive even by the standards set by games only offering a single sport. It is rare for mini-game collections to offer serious competition with serious sports games, but Resort does just that. Since it comes with a MotionPlus, it almost seems crazy not to buy it.

****
Boxing is an ideal game for gesture gaming, because it requires both hands and a good deal of body movement. Punch Out takes full advantage, letting players punch with the remote and nunchuk and dodge by shifting on the balance board (if you’ve got one). Some players claim the game is more fun in the old-school button mashing mode, but as I have said many times before, these people are wrong, wrong, wrong. Played the way it should be played, Punch Out is amazing. It will also get you in great shape.

****
I doubt I could hit a golf ball even 50 feet, but Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10 makes me feel like a professional as I smoothly swing my Wii remote at a virtual golf ball and watch it soar. The Tiger Woods games have always been first rate, but the MotionPlus supported in Tour 10 allows a greater degree of sensitivity that makes this the closest thing you can get to really playing golf while avoiding embarrassing yourself on an actual golf green.
****
I know, the obvious choice for best racing game is Mario Kart Wii. And yes, Mario Kart Wii is an awesome racing game. But the quirky ExciteBots: Trick Racing is more varied and unique, and gets less attention than it deserves, so I’m going to go out on a limb and say this is the one to buy.

****
As a general rule, sports games come out yearly but don’t change little from year to year except the player roster. So it’s hard to say which Madden game is actually the best, but certainly any of them can be considered the best football game on the Wii. Personally I hate football, I don’t like watching it, I don’t like playing it, and I never liked football video games until the first Madden Wii game, Madden NFL 07. Suddenly, instead of memorizing a confusing set of button pushes, I was just tossing the ball with a swing of my arms and strong arming my opponents with a shove. For me, Madden on the Wii is the only football game worth playing, and a beautiful example of adapting a game franchise to the Wii.