Wii Sports Club on disc functions exactly the same as the download app if you've permanently purchased all five games; that's absolutely fine, as it's always been a crisp, easy-to-use layout. When first booted up it'll ask you to setup a profile, too, in which you select your regional Club and opt in/out of SpotPass — again, identical to the eShop product.
The Club setup is nice in practice, in that every sport has rolling leaderboards not just for your ranking, but the position of your region. The goal is to engender some competitive spirit as you aim to take your region to the top, though as competitive gaming is normally a selfish endeavour we suspect most will be more interested in their own rankings and win ratios.
Miiverse is integrated well, and is also used when setting up customised call-outs, of which you can have three mapped to the Wii Remote D-pad at any time during matches. This is really just to enable Nintendo to moderate messages, and in our case had the bonkers flipside that, when originally reviewing Tennis, we couldn't use the word 'balls' in our message — we're not even kidding. Standard posts to Miiverse are naturally supported, and after an online match in particular you'll often be asked whether you want to post about it to your 'Club', which also means posting a general message on the social network.
As for the online play in general, it all works, though with some sports being better than others. As you'll have seen on previous pages the Friend matches are a fiddle, bizarrely, while lag can sometimes be a problem; the inability to select immediate rematches is also an annoyance, but matches normally kick in relatively quickly. What online play does allow is for you to enjoy the game even when family and friends aren't around, as a lag-free match is always more fun than taking on the CPU.
This is an odd title on Wii U, meanwhile, as it's one of the few that's primarily navigated with the Wii MotionPlus Remote, with the GamePad to be kept close for use on Miiverse, while it's prominent in Golf and Baseball. In the other sports you could conceivably ignore the Wii U's controller entirely, highlighting that this is — unsurprisingly — a port that's a bizarre hybrid, not quite fitting the newer system like a snug boxing glove.
Yet it does serve up the thrills of that iconic Wii pack-in title, improving most of the sports and adding a little more interaction to the experience.
It's certainly pleasing, with this disc copy, to readily have all five sports available without worrying about whether you've previously unlocked them all — when hosting family or friends it avoids the "I haven't bought that one, actually" scenario. If found at a good price in stores it's a solid option, in that respect, and in our view three of the sports are strong entries — Golf, Bowling and Baseball utilising improved controllers and technology; Tennis is reasonable, too, with Boxing being a weak link. When you throw in Miiverse and online play there's certainly scope for a lot of enjoyment that takes in nostalgia of some multiplayer fun on Wii.
Choosing between download passes or this compilation is down to individual preferences and budget, but those keen to try all five sports in the most convenient way should certainly consider the disc-based route.