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.
Mini-golf offers nine different holes that are nicely laid out with multiple paths and hazards. The touchy controls and lack of holes (the same nine get repetitive very quickly) makes this one of the weakest selections. Croquet has three different course layouts, but doesn’t allow you to play with a rover or hit-away. Like mini-golf, the controls are a letdown. Badminton will have you flailing around furiously with the Wii Remote and is most similar to Wii Sports tennis. Volleyball is a bit deeper as it places a premium on timing and actually does a decent job of recognizing your movements. Lawn darts and horse shoes are the best entries as far as I’m concerned. Having said that, they’re almost identical to each other. A mild difference is the inclusion of wind effect for lawn darts does up the complexity some. Otherwise, they’re pretty much the same game.
Basketball is the most distinct and most detailed game. Players can choose between two locales: a full court in a park or a paved driveway, and three different game types: Horse, Around-the-World, and Free Play. These games are all strictly based on set shots and never actually have you playing a full game. That’s probably a blessing as I’m sure 2-v-2 games would surely be poorly executed. Consequently, shooting baskets is easy as long as you make a fluid stroke. I found this game to be fairly complete, but it quickly lost its magic after just a few times through.
The presentation, including graphic quality and sounds, is fairly well done. The visuals are everything they need to be but nothing more. The various stages and settings are nicely fashioned and bring the feel of the tropics home. The game is full of jaggies, but every good looking Wii title has its fair share of those. The sounds and music are representative of an island getaway, but are simplistic and repetitive. The use of steel drums for the menu selections was a nice touch, however.
Summer Sports: Paradise Island is a passable Wii sporting title that brings a few backyard favorites to your living room. Unfortunately, the imprecise controls don’t let the game achieve its full potential. Consequently, the title is nothing more than a bit more fodder for Sony and Microsoft fanboys to point their fingers and laugh at. That being said, the gameplay experience is similar to that found in Wii Sports. I expect fans of Wii Sports and other casual players to enjoy this title, but core gamers will be bored in a matter of minutes.
RATING OUT OF 5 RATING DESCRIPTION 3.7 Graphics
The various stages and settings are nicely fashioned. The game is full of jaggies, but every good-looking Wii title has its fair share of those. 2.5 Control
The controls are not nearly good enough, especially considering that the Wii remote is the reason for the game’s existence. 3.3 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The music is representative of an island getaway, but it is definitely repetitive. The use of steel drums for the menu selections was a nice touch. 2.6
This is a passable Wii sporting title that brings a few backyard favorites to your living room. Unfortunately, the imprecise controls don’t let the game achieve its full potential.
2.8 Overall Rating – Average
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.