Summer Sports: Paradise Island

Review

posted 7/15/2008 by Cyril Lachel
other articles by Cyril Lachel
One Page Platforms: Wii
When I look back at all of Wii games I have played I find myself conflicted. While I have enjoyed the so-called "hardcore" games like Metroid, Smash Bros. and Super Mario Galaxy, I still feel like my favorite Wii experience has been with the pack-in game, Wii Sports. It's not that it's the best game on the Wii or especially deep, but it was the game that best demonstrated what was so unique about Nintendo's motion sensing console.

Seeing the popularity of Wii Sports I can certainly understand why so many different publishers would be pushing for some sort of motion-controlled sports compilation. This is the easiest way to explain Destineer's newest game, Summer Sports: Paradise Island. Summer Sports is certainly not the most original game to come out this year, but it does have a nice collection interesting sports to choose from ... a few of which have never been recreated on the Wii before. It's nowhere near perfect, but if you're the kind of gamer that is looking for another Wii Sports game, you could do a lot worse than Summer Sports.

Summer Sports: Paradise Island is exactly what it sounds like; it's a mini-game collection full of all the kind of simplistic sports that you might play with your friends if you were stuck on a tropical island (and not having to run from smoke monsters and people you refer to as "The Others"). While this collection features a few boring selections (the various basketball mini-games spring to mind), overall Summer Sports delivers on the promise of Wii Sports-style action applied to a greater variety of events. Regardless of their execution, it's hard to not get excited about throwing horseshoes, playing badminton, trying your luck at croquet or chucking lawn darts as hard as you can. Even if some of the gameplay is sloppy, at least this is a mini-game collection full of mini-games I might actually want to collect.

Summer Sports

As you can probably guess, there isn't much of a story in Summer Sports. Instead we have a map with eight different event locations, which include places to play badminton, volleyball, miniature golf, horse shoes, lawn darts, croquet and a few different variations of basketball. Each of these mini-games can be controlled using only the Wii's remote; you'll never have to attach the nunchuk when playing this game. Better yet, most of the "sports" allow you to swap a single Wii remote between four people, that way everybody can have fun and you won't have to break the bank buying a bunch of extra Wii controls.

Logistics aside, Summer Sports is a fairly straightforward mini-game collection. In most games you decide how many people you want to play with (up to four, including computer-controlled characters with varying degrees of difficulty), then you select your characters, then team up or stay free-for-all, and finally get to playing ... and (hopefully) have fun. Some of the sports require teams and others allow you to customize your experience in different ways, but when it comes right down to it you're basically playing these games as-is. Thankfully this isn't a bad thing, since most of the sports are actually a good deal of fun.

The good news about Summer Sports is that there is a surprising amount of solid sports in this collection. After pulling this out at a recent gaming get together I found that just about everybody had a good time with lawn darts, miniature golf and croquet. These three sports, more than any others, managed to recreate something that we rarely see these days. And best of all, after we got used to the controls we found ourselves having a fun and lively competition. This was especially true when it came to lawn darts, a "sport" that has been banned in this country from almost twenty years.

At its best Summer Sports offers us good simulations of a bunch of oddball sports. None of the games are must-own titles, but collectively they make for an exciting few hours of Wii play (which is not to be confused with the far less fun Wii Play). The miniature golf game is terribly limited and suffers from a few control quirks, but at the same time you'll be instantly reminded why you love the sport. The same is true with croquet, which controls almost exactly like the miniature golf event. The horse shoes can be fun, but it plays a little too much like lawn darts, a much more exciting game.
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