|System: Wii||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Digital Embryo||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Destineer||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Apr. 15, 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|
Destineer's at it again! This time they're taking on backyard hobbies. You may remember Destineer's other recent abominations such as the Kidz Sports series, Homie Rollerz, Kawasaki Quad Bikes, and Myth Makers: Orbs of Doom to name a few. These are all titles I like to call "Wii Killers." These previous games are characterized by their horrendous use of the motion controls, paucity of options, and woeful lack of detail.
Thankfully, Summer Sports: Paradise Island is far better than the other offerings they have hastily put out for Wii. The controls, while still poor, don't feel broken. Moreover, the game has some variety with seven different sports to play, and the overall production values are much higher. In fact, the game plays a lot like Wii Sports. Now before you go jumping out to buy the title, know that the games are most similar in quality to tennis or boxing and never approach the quality of bowling or baseball. Nevertheless, this is the best product Destineer has published for Wii and is a game that may be fun for truly casual gamers.
Summer Sports: Paradise Island takes up to four players to the tropics to play seven backyard classics. The sports included are basketball, croquet, lawn darts, badminton, volleyball, horse shoes, and mini-golf. These games are all very simple to play and should not be difficult for anyone to quickly get the hang of. Moreover, directions are provided during the loading screens before each game which makes it easy for everyone to get mentally prepared. Furthermore, players aren't likely to forget how to play as there are only a few logical motions and buttons to remember.
Unfortunately, the controls are not nearly good enough. The simple controls feel imprecise, causing players to check their back swings and rush their follow through. This is especially the case when mini-golfing or playing croquet. Considering that the Wii remote is the sole reason for the games existence, a lot more attention should have been paid in more realistically capturing player movement. Despite the controls, I still had some fun with the games. However, I couldn't say I truly enjoyed any of them. The lack of quality controls makes these games feel like dull diversions rather than intriguing challenges.
On the plus side, the casual nature and accessibility are strengthened by the straightforward and clean game menus. It is very easy to get in and out of a game, select characters, change gaming parameters, etc. Uncharacteristically for a Wii game, I really liked the way the IR camera accurately floated around the screen. This made it very easy to make selections without being bungled up by a shaky cursor. Furthermore, gameplay is pretty fast-paced. As long as everyone triggers their way through the replay screens, you should be able to finish one event and move on to the next before it begins to drag.
Each sport has a similar pair. For example, mini-golf has croquet, badminton has volleyball, and lawn darts has horse shoes. The only one that bucks this trend is basketball. To compensate, basketball is actually repeated twice on the selection screen. Each of the games' control schemes is very similar to their partner's. Fortunately, the rules and settings are distinct enough that none of them feel identical.