Vacation Sports is Ubisoft’s latest family sports game. It is a game that tries to mimic Nintendo’s successful launch game, Wii Sports. Unfortunately, Ubisoft failed miserably. Like the multitude of others out there, this low budget game was clearly made to capitalize on the Wii’s success. Vacation Sports has nothing going for it: the presentation is terrible, the controls are broken, and it’s simply not fun – playing darts in a video game is not as great as it sounds.
The game starts with a cutscene that shows animated characters arriving at their vacation. The video is boring, dated, and has framerate issues. Afterward, you will be taken to a hotel where you can create your family and play the mini-games. There are four areas that you can navigate to via the menu. The reception, rooms, sports challenge, and quick sports. At the reception menu, you can create your family, or you can delete one of the four family slots. Each family can have up to six members. There are ten generic character models you can pick from, but I don’t understand why Ubisoft chose to use these awful models instead of giving players the option to use Mii characters. There is an option to have the game randomly create your family members. This is a feature that I recommend because besides a name change, there is nothing else you can customize, so it is a waste of time. After you create your family, you will be sent to your hotel room where you can choose from some generic outfits. There are only a few types of clothes and various colors you can pick from. There is also a trophy case and a TV in the room. You can buy a couple games like table soccer and skeet shoot. You could also choose to spend your money on an activity, but I don’t recommend it because I spent 100 coins and all I got was a pitiful cutscene of a helicopter trip. Finally, once you leave the room you will have the chance to compete with other families at the hotel. The whole hotel/menu system is awful because getting around takes forever and it’s an eyesore.
There are eight games you can choose from including Paleta Fronton (it’s like tennis, but it’s played with a wooden racket), Dodge Ball, Disc Golf, Go Karts, Pétanque (a game that you play with marbles), Beach Cricket, Air Hockey, and Darts. Most of these mini-games’ controls are broken. They never work like they’re supposed to. For example, the Go Kart game controls terribly – I kept running into walls, or it would just stop if I tried driving through a corner quickly. Also, the races lack a sense of speed. A lot of the time, it feels like you are driving a truck. Dodge Ball is even worse. I was expecting to be able to throw the ball with the Wii-mote. Instead, the developers have you hold it like a NES controller, so you can use the D-pad to navigate the character and use Button 1 and 2 to catch and throw the ball. Needless to say, I was very disappointed.
The Darts game did not have any major control issues, but it was boring. It is far more exciting to play darts in real life. Air Hockey is not too bad, but it is easier to score on yourself than the CPU. You play the game by pointing at the sensor bar to hit the puck, but this means that anyone stepping in front of you (or if you accidentally point away from sensor bar) could lose you the game. Paleta Fronton is a lot like tennis. The game is broken because the person who serves the ball will almost always win the point. Pétanque’s controls work fine, but it is not an entertaining game. The objective of the game is to throw your marbles closer to the jack than your opponent’s marbles. Each one that is closer is worth one point. Beach Cricket is not any better. It is a lot like baseball, but after you hit the ball, you have to flick the remote back and forth to run to the opposite side. There is no pitching option, only batting. Disc Golf was definitely the best of the worst; it was sometimes difficult to adjust which way to direct the disk, but it was still fun.
Players earn coins and trophies when they play well. You can view your trophies in the bedroom where you can also buy some new mini-games. You can also obtain two nicer rooms. There are a total of three trophies for each game. Needless to say, these extras do not provide for a compelling reward system.
Vacation Sports’ presentation is horrible. In fact, it is downright shameful that Ubisoft even published this game. There is no effort in creating any of the visuals. The game has framerate issues, the textures are very bland and blurry, there is no complex geometry in the environments, the art style is nonexistent, and the lighting is laughable. Another major eyesore is the game has extremely jagged visuals.
Since it is obvious that Vacation Sports is not pushing the hardware, they could have at least included anti-aliasing to clean up the picture. Nintendo needs to implement some quality control because this problem is ridiculous. The game lacks 480p as well.
Surprisingly, Vacation Sports includes voice acting, but don’t get too excited because the acting is bad, annoying, and the characters’ mouths don’t move. Besides that, the music is just as bad as the visuals and becomes very repetitive and irritating after listening to it for a couple of minutes.
Vacation Sports is a game that you should stay away from because it is not worth the $29.99. Unfortunately, many parents and grandparents will buy this game for their kids thinking it’s going to be similar to Wii Sports. I believe that was the developer’s intention, but it does a poor job at emulating one of Nintendo’s flagship titles. Poor visuals, bad sound, and broken gameplay make Vacation Sports almost unplayable. Nintendo needs to put a stop to all the shovelware and demand that third-parties release polished titles. I don’t recommend this game. Instead, stick to Wii Sports because Vacation Sports is one of Wii’s worst games.
RATING OUT OF 5 RATING DESCRIPTION 1.0 Graphics
There is nothing nice about the visuals. There are problems all over. 2.5 Control
Some are a disaster, but others like Disk Golf get the job done. 2.5 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Surprisingly, there is voice over, but it is not very good. Other sound effects are below average. 1.0
I doubt anyone will play this game more than once.
1.5 Overall Rating – Avoid
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.