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.
In addition to the actual mini-games themselves feeling unfinished, there are several other aspects of the game that feel underwhelming. The visuals in the game are very poor, despite having some fun island-style elements. Although these elements are nice to look at when the game is still, the visual issues begin when the game is put in motion. The character models have a lot of jagged edges, and the animations are very repetitive. Different play environments are all very simplistic, and they feature little to no moving elements, which is probably a good thing.
Sound in this title is a little better, but still doesn’t feel complete. Although there is no voiceover, there is some unobjectionable background music, which is nice to listen to as long as you don’t have any marathon sports party sessions. There are some sound effects associated with the different sports, but these are of poor quality and sparse at best.
However, this game wasn’t all bad. As I said before, some of the mini-games, like archery, football, and bocce are quite enjoyable, and they are easily played with friends. The game has support for four players, and each can play with their own Wii-mote or players can share a single Wii-mote and take turns. This is a great option for those who want to play a party-style game with limited hardware.
Although the Wii definitely doesn’t have any shortage of low quality, party game shovelware, sometimes you can find a title that defies your expectations that turns out to be a fun and engaging experience. Summer Sports 2: Island Sports Party is not one of those titles. This mini-game compilation sticks to the status quo in almost every way imaginable, from the touch-and-go controls to the sub-par graphics. Although some of the games are playable, on the whole the game feels about half-finished. As such, it is definitely not a title I would freely invest any time in. If you are looking for mini-game style fun you would do much better with titles from the Rayman Raving Rabbids series or Mario Party. But whatever you do, it is probably best that you stay away from this party!
RATING OUT OF 5 RATING DESCRIPTION 1.8 Graphics
Graphics are simplistic at best. Jagged lines permeate most landscapes, and character animations are erratic. 2.2 Control
Controls are a mixed bag. Some of the mini-games work well, while others are completely hopeless. 2.1 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Background music is minimal, but pleasant in small doses. Voiceover is non-existent and the sound effects are annoying. 2.0
The half of the games that are actually playable can be fun, while the others are simply broken. The single Wii-mote option is nice for social gatherings.
2.0 Overall Rating – Poor
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.