|System: Wii||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Destineer||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Destineer||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Dec. 18, 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|
It seems that the Wii is increasingly becoming the console of choice for social gatherings. The explosion of mini-game party-style titles is definitely evidence of this phenomenon. Whether this is a good or bad trend I can't say, but one thing is for sure: most of these mini-game compilations generally end up being of poor quality. Summer Sports 2: Island Sports Party has a few good elements as a party game, but on the whole it ends up being just another Wii mini-game compilation with the word "party" thrown in for good measure. Trust me, this party is one you're probably better off not attending.
As you might expect, the mini-games in Summer Sports 2: Island Sports Party all revolve around outdoor sports. The different sports are fairly diverse and range from the now-standard mini-golf to the exotic Island sport of Bocce. In addition to these two, you can also play soccer, goal football, shuffleboard, and archery. Each sport has two or three different ways to play, including free-for-all modes and other, more focused modes. The free-for-all mode features non-competitive play, which is great for playing with friends who are not necessarily gamers. The other modes available vary widely based on the game, and they can range from score-targeted modes or a time trial-like mode.
However, even though the selection of mini-games and the different modes are quite nice, the big problem with Summer Sports 2 is that only half of the mini-games are actually playable. For instance, the archery and football mini-games featured intuitive and responsive motion-based controls, which nicely mimicked holding a bow and arrow or aiming and throwing a football. These controls were easy to learn, worked well in practice, and the mini-games were fun to play either by yourself or with friends.
However, not all the mini-games controlled this well. For example, the shuffle board and mini-golf controls were absolutely horrible and suffered from complicated control schemes that involved waving the Wii-mote while making accurately timed button presses. The controls in these mini-games not only don't work well, in extreme cases, they cease to function completely. The shuffleboard mini-game was especially difficult to control, and even after spending a half hour trying to execute the instructed moves, there was just no way to get my onscreen avatar to do what I wanted.
Although there are only a few mini-games that suffer from this extremely bad control, it is almost enough to ruin the whole experience. Because there are only eight mini-games with five basketball variations, the presence of these non-functional mini-games definitely makes the game feel imbalanced and incomplete. This is really a shame, as some of the mini-games are very nice.