Deca Sports DS Review
Deca Sports DS box art
System: DS Review Rating Legend
Dev: Hudson Soft 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Hudson Soft 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: March 2, 2010 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1-6 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Everyone 3.5 - 3.9 = Good
Hitting its Stride
by Jonathan Marx

The Deca Sports franchise for Wii has never wowed us here at CheatCC. In fact, the sports-themed mini-game compilations have been little more than glorified shovelware. Fortunately, Hudson Soft's first DS offering is more enjoyable than the previous entries the company has released. This is due to the fact that the simple stylus- and D-pad-based controls are actually pretty tight when compared to the less-than-ideal motion controls slapped onto the other games in the series.

Deca Sports DS screenshot

Moreover, many of the ten games on offer are pretty fun in small doses, and you can share the experience with up to five other friends via single-cart DS Download Play. As it turns out, Deca Sports DS is a relatively robust package; one that is easy to recommend to casual and younger players alike.

As the name implies, Deca Sports DS features ten sports for players to enjoy. They include Ping Pong, Golf, Arm Wrestling, Sky Diving, Wall Climbing, Rugby, Bobsled, Cheerleading, Sepak Takraw (soccer volleyball), and, my personal favorite, Clay Shooting. While half of the sports I found to be boring, the other half was a good bit of fun. Furthermore, all the sports are surprisingly well executed. As such, I expect folks to have different strokes; you'll undoubtedly find a handful of games here that appeal to you and will keep the play value relatively high, regardless of your tastes.

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That being said, there are a few sports I, personally, would have liked to have seen dropped in favor of something else… anything else. Arm Wrestling, for example, is repetitive and dull; you'll perform the same three touch-screen phases over and over with no real reward. Likewise, Wall Climbing also uses a series of taps and rubs that quickly wear thin. Finally, Sky Diving just has you getting into formation, and it demands a high level of precision even though the touch-screen sensitivity seems to be severely reduced. These three sports could have easily have been dropped without missing a beat. While I'm tempted to lump Cheerleading into that group, the challenge of successfully executing the onscreen prompts is steep enough that it provides some enjoyment despite its tedious gameplay mechanic.

Deca Sports DS screenshot

Golf features a quite accessible touch-based control scheme. I really enjoyed shaping my shots, and I could easily determine the length and power of my swings. Unfortunately, the course provided is what golfers would call a "goat ranch;" straight fairways with very few bunkers and hazards to test your skill. Ping Pong is also nicely controlled, and I liked testing the AI with cut-shots and high-arcing top-spin shots. To my chagrin, these shots don't necessarily have the location they should, and un-returnable slams come a bit too frequently. Bobsled is another sport I enjoyed, but mostly because it was challenging to best my own times and trying to get a perfect run. However, mashing buttons to get up to speed and then tweaking my positioning with the shoulder buttons isn't that entertaining.

The sports that shone brightest were Rugby, Sepak Takraw, and Clay Shooting. The first two are team sports that are surprisingly well done. Of course, they're extremely simplistic, so don't expect an amazing experience. Nevertheless, I found tackling the opposition, winning rucks, and scoring tries, as well as digging out drilled shots and setting up overhead kicks to be a lot of fun. My favorite sport of all in the collection is Clay Shooting. Taking out targets from set positions with the stylus proved to be very addictive.

Deca Sports DS screenshot

What made all the sports far superior was the ability to play them against a friend. The developers obviously knew this and made multiplayer accessible for anyone with a DS via single-cart DS Download Play. In fact, up to six players can hop into local multiplayer matches by downloading the software wirelessly. Taking on friends in Rugby and Clay Shooting matches is quite nice actually. And even previously boring sports such as Wall Climbing and Sky Diving can be pretty good when the element of competition is introduced.

Screenshots / Images
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