If you love minigame collections like Wii Sports and Wii Sports Resort, you'll love this game. If not, then there is no point in reading further.
I'll start off with a few logistics. You only need your Wii remote and nunchuk, the balance board and zapper are optional and don't really affect the game play. You can use your Mii Avatar and even though it says you cannot use your Mii's glasses, it actually does let you. You can also register a dog companion if you choose.
Now this game has a lot of similarities to Wii Sports Resort even going as far as to having some of the same games. In some cases, you'll find the Resort to be better (such as sky diving) and in other cases, Vacation to be better (such as with jet skiing).
When you start playing the game, you will start off at Marine Resort, where you are given the task of completing Stamp Dash where you must play a specific game and getting a stamp for it. You must collect 20, 10 of which must come from the Marine resort. As you keep playing, you will unlock the other resorts (usually every four stamps collected). Once you collect the first ten, you can choose from the unlocked resorts where to go next. After you complete 20 games (you don't have to win or be any good at the game in order to get a stamp), you will get a villa and unlike in Resort, you can actually go inside it, rearrange furniture and interact with it. You can also change your clothes too.
When you go to the other two resorts, you will also have to complete Stamp Dashes, in the case of City Resort, it is 20 and in Mountain resort, its 25 each separately. There are two choices to finding the particular game that you have been tasked with playing. You can look at the map at the bottom of the screen where it shows you (the blue arrow) are at and where the red dot (where you need to go play the activity) is located. You can use devices that each resort allows you to use. For instance, in Mountain Resort, you can use trains, horses, and jeeps to get to where you want to go, unless you want to walk or swim. In City Resort you have a trolley, skates, and skateboard. In Marine Resort you have jet ski, boat, plane and atv. And in Snow Resort you have snowboard, skis, helicopter, and ski lift. In some of these you have to make sure you are in the purple circle to activate it (such as plane, boat, train, helicopter, ski lift, and trolley).
The second method to accessing the game that you are tasked with playing is through the menu. There is a "map" button and you click on that and it will have several regions of that particular resort you are in and if you can get as close as possible to your location by pressing the right region (this is great in cases where you get lost or take the wrong ski lift and end up in the opposite direction than you should be.
You also get the choice of day or night gameplay. The background to the game is very realistic especially in Snow and City resorts. There are all sorts of people running about that will run into you, and in the case of Snow Resort even cause you to fall down. The background music sounds like something you'd hear in a real resort (even though half of it is in Japanese with exception to the announcements being made in Snow Resort). The music will get louder the closer to the source you get, and less loud the further away.
The particular stamps you must collect are by no means the only games available to you. There will be many people walking around with little signs above their head which indicates they have an activity for you to play. So you can click on those too regardless if there is a stamp available for it.
What makes this game so great compared to Sports Resort (which is good in its own right) is not just the variety of games, but the fact that its an open world so you can drive around or run around or use whatever method you want and basically be free to just roam.
Namco really did a good job with this game, so I give it five stars. Like I said before, if you love games like Sports Resort, you'll definitely love this game (especially once you get past the stamp collecting).