Bundled in as a kind of bonus announcement at the end of yesterday's Wii Fit U Direct online broadcast, in which Nintendo confirmed a November release for their mini-game/fitness game sensation, was the news that one of the Wii's best selling games would be making a return later this year on the Wii U. With a whopping 82.98 million copies sold (although admittedly most of those would be pack-ins), Wii Sports Club is an HD remake of the game that was most people's first introduction to motion controls, the original Wii Sports.
However, the re-release goes beyond just a quick lick of paint. Instead of releasing just a single download, which includes all the games, for a single price, Nintendo will instead be releasing the "Wii Sports Club" hub, as a free download, from which you'll be able to download the individual sports separately, at a cost. Set to launch alongside two games (Tennis and Bowling), with three more sports set to be released over the coming weeks and months, you'll eventually have the full compliment of five (Tennis, Bowling, Golf, Baseball and Boxing), with each setting you back a not insubstantial £8.99. To help ease you back into things, upon downloading the 'hub', you'll be granted a free 24 trial of each of the available sports - but from there on in, you'll have to choose what you pay for, and how you pay for it.
On the plus side, the sports do all feature a number of upgrades above and beyond the original. Firstly, they all now make use of Motion Plus, which allows you extra precision over your moves, but also means you'll require a Motion Plus add on, or a controller that comes with it built in (like all Wii U remotes). All sports will also now include online multiplayer (which was one of the big omissions in the original) along all the usual local multiplayer options, with the big selling point being the ability to compete either individually, or as part of regional team with people from your local area. Online communication via Miiverse is included as well, which seems like a good fit to us, although we are a tad disappointed that none of the sports introduced in Wii Sports Resort, like the very enjoyable Swordplay and archery, will be included in the package - although it's possible they may be added further down the line.
In fact, our only real gripe with this repackaging of Wii Sports is the price. While at £8.99 as a bundle for all five we'd have been falling over ourselves, £8.99 per sport seems a tad steep to us, especially for those wishing to partake in all five activities. By the time you've bought all five, you'll have racked up a bill of £45 - and considering Wii Sports Resort launched at around that price, and came with 12 sports (and a Wii Remote Plus), it seems a little bit on the pricey side. If you're sitting on the fence, Nintendo will also be offering a £1.79 24 hour pass that allows access to all five games for a single day, but we can't see that being particularly popular in the long run either.
In the end, it seems the question is whether Motion Plus compatibility, Miiverse, online multiplayer and a shiny HD makeover will be enough to make players want to join the Wii Sports Club. The hub software along with the first two sports will be available as a download exclusive on November 7th - and we know we'll certainly be checking it out! To see the first footage, check out the trailer below. The Wii Sports Club footage starts at around 17:40