Summer Sports: Paradise Island

Review

posted 7/15/2008 by Cyril Lachel
other articles by Cyril Lachel
One Page Platforms: Wii

Unfortunately there are a few disappointing events. I was not a particular fan of either the volleyball or the badminton games. While I generally like these sports in real life, there was something about these simulations that just felt a little off. Part of the problem is the terrible camera angles, which make it extremely difficult to determine where the ball is going to land and when you should start your swing. To make matters worse, you have a very limited amount of control over your situation, so you're constantly praying that the computer will move you where you need to be. Needless to say, these are the events that are easiest to skip past.

Perhaps most disappointing is the representation of basketball. Try as they might, the developers behind Summer Sports just couldn't make basketball work. This is especially disappointing because there is so much basketball in this game, everything from a simple game of HORSE to Around the World to Shot Clock. Heck, you even have your choice of where you want to play those events, something that you can't do with any of the other sports. The problem is that none of the basketball mini-games are much fun. The shooting mechanic feels right, but it just never feels as natural as the other sports in the box. What's more, it's actually really difficult to gauge your shot, something that wouldn't be an issue in real life. After spending quite some time with the three basketball events I started to wonder why I wasn't just playing this in real life. How expensive can a basketball be? And it's never difficult to find a basketball hoop. Summer Sports is at its best when it's recreating sports that nobody actually owns.

Summer Sports

No matter how good or bad the different sports are the one thing you're going to have to get used to is the learning curve. Thankfully it's not too steep, but none of these controls seem nearly as natural as what we saw in Wii Sports. Most of the party goers were able to grasp the nuance of the controls quickly, but some of the sports felt like they could have used a bit more tweaking before release. The controls, just like the sports themselves, are something of a mixed bag.

Speaking of Wii Sports, one of the biggest draws of that game was the idea of using your custom made Mii character against your friend's character (and other crazy concoctions you've made/downloaded). Unfortunately you can't do that here. Not that this is unexpected, so far Nintendo and Electronic Arts are the only two companies using the Mii characters, but it is disappointing that Destineer wasn't able to incorporate these personalized players into the game. This is all the more noticeable when you see the short list of character found in the game. With five men and five women, Summer Sports gives you a small choice that features a lot of athletic-looking meatheads with a number of different ethnicities. Sadly none of these characters are all that unique and they are completely interchangeable. It's also disappointing that you can't customize these characters in any way (not even shirt color); they remain the same no matter what sport you're playing.

The graphics in Summer Sports are fair, neither fantastic nor bad looking. The beach locales are nice and soothing, but outside of a bird flying by or a boat in the ocean, there just isn't much detail to look at. Not that there was much to look at in Wii Sports or any of the other Wii mini-game collections. The character models are good and the sports have a unique look, but you shouldn't use this game to demonstrate the power of the Nintendo Wii or anything.

Outside of the seven events there aren't that many extras to speak of. The most intriguing bonus in the game is the addition of achievements, similar to what you would find in all of the Xbox 360 games. They are only good for this one game, but they will give you something to shoot for if you're looking to extend the hours of gameplay. As a fan of achievement points I can see how this could be a fun diversion, but you probably won't care much about these if you end up not enjoying the actual game.

Your enjoyment of this game is going to come down to how much you like the various sports. Chances are you're going to dislike a few right away, but if you give the others a chance you will find that there are enough good games here to warrant a play. I can see myself pulling the game out at parties to play lawn darts and miniature golf, so as a first attempt at this type of game Destineer deserves credit. Summer Sports is nowhere near consistent, but then again neither was Wii Sports. If you're the kind of gamer that likes to play alone then there's no reason to even consider this game, but if you're the kind of person that has a lot of friends over then you should definitely give this one a shot.


B-
Summer Sports: Paradise Island is exactly what it sounds like, a mini-game collection full of exciting sports you mostly play when the sun is out and everybody is complaining about the heat. There are a few really fun events to play through here, but this compilation isn't nearly as consistent as one would hope!


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