|System: DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Sumo Digital||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Konami||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: July 22, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Neither of the control variations available is particularly enjoyable to wrestle with. The default control scheme has players putting the violent rub down on their touch screen - not so fun if you wish to preserve it from getting overly scratched. Many of the games require you to drag the stylus repeatedly back and forth (or in circles) across the screen at high speed, while occasionally tapping the screen or hitting the D-Pad to engage a maneuver.
Normally this might not be a problem, but the gameplay quickly becomes very intense as you try to build up enough momentum or power to perform well in the various events. Trying to worry both about doing well while not damaging your system is doubly taxing. It's a nerve-wracking and tiring process. Plus, it's often distracting when the entire top screen is shaking as a result. The alternative is to go back to mashing different combinations of buttons, which is an option for those who dig the old way of doing things. However, it's not recommended. Also, if you're up for the added-head rush, you can blow into the microphone to "cheer" your character on in some events for an extra boost, but it doesn't seem to have much of a substantial impact on success.
Most of the mini-games take a few tries to get the hang of things, but it can be extremely frustrating when you've done well in several portions of a series of events only to fail at the one you're not quite comfortable with yet - forcing you to start over. An option to practice individual games is helpful, if you have the patience to test each one out before you enter into a tournament. You're given step-by-step instructions on how to play each event, but in some cases it isn't necessarily clear exactly how it translates when playing the actual game.
Single-card multiplayer is fairly limited, but Sumo Digital raises the bar with the level of online features and gameplay through the Wi-Fi connection. Your Wi-Fi profile can be tied in directly to a free account at the game's website. You sign up to play to challenge other players, get ranked worldwide, join a team, and participate in tournaments. It's a pretty slick interface, and there's a solid level of extended play possibilities to be found online.
Track & Field's main downfall is its shoddy controls, but other areas of the game have been given the proper attention to make this a sturdy competitive package for fans of Olympic sports. The events themselves are mostly quite enjoyable and the spirit of competition is alive and well on this classically inspired collection on the DS.
CCC Staff Contributor