Big League Sports: Summer

Game review by
Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media
Big League Sports: Summer Game Poster Image
Simplistic, sports-themed party game is family friendly.

Parents say

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Kids say

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive messages

Promotes the notion of friendly competitive play.

Positive role models & representations

Characters role model how to be good sports.

Ease of play

Three levels of difficulty make the game accessible to all skill levels. Plus, the motion controls for each game are quite simple. Brief tutorials include a few lines of text and a couple of pictures illustrating the movement required.

Violence & scariness

Mild shenanigans. Players can hit golf balls at a fellow in a golf cart (they bounce off, causing no apparent damage) and crabs (which disappear). Players can also whack coconuts with baseballs, which may then fall on a baseball player below, knocking him to the ground briefly.

Language
Consumerism

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this game is a simple, family-oriented compilation of sport-themed party games. Content is safe for all ages; the only violence comes in the form of coconuts falling on characters’ heads and golf balls bouncing off of vehicles and crab shells (causing the crabs to disappear). No characters appear injured. Controls are very simple, typically requiring little more than a single button and a swoosh of the Wii remote. It’s best played in groups, where it stands a chance of fostering some friendly competitive spirit among family and friends.

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What's it about?

The back of BIG LEAGUE SPORTS: SUMMER's box, a sequel to last year’s Big League Sports, suggests players will be given the opportunity to engage in six different sports, but that’s a bit misleading. The only real sport players will play is a simplified version of beach volleyball. The other five sports -- golf, baseball, soccer, football, and tennis -- have been broken into mini-games, such as a home run competition, a punt return obstacle course, and a mini-golf challenge. There are 16 activities in all, none of which (save the beach volleyball game) ought to take more than a few seconds to learn and a few minutes to complete. A tournament mode allows up to four players to compete head-to-head in a series of events of their choosing.

Is it any good?

Sadly, most of the activities in Big League Sports Summer are disposable. Players probably won’t be interested in simplistic games that involve kicking soccer balls at targets in a harbor or chipping golf balls onto a green for much longer than it takes to learn how to play them. There are, however, a few neat ideas mixed in with the duds. Throwing footballs at stacks of blocks to knock them over reminded us of Boom Blox, and having our tennis avatar act as a human paddle in a giant pinball machine is undeniably clever. Unfortunately, even these novel games are too short and shallow to be much more than brief distractions. Multi-player tournaments help extend the game’s length a smidgeon, but still don’t justify its inordinately high $39.99 price tag.

Platform notes:

Nintendo DS: The handheld version is similar in look and design to its console-based sibling, but many of the games are different (for example: a puzzle game called “golf darts” replaces putting and chipping challenges). It’s not much better, but we give it an extra half of a star simply because, at $19.99, it represents a much better deal.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the notion of breaking sports into their component activities. Team-based games often require plenty of space, equipment, and people, but if a sport like baseball is split into running, batting, catching, and pitching, you can often begin playing or practicing even if you have less space and fewer participants. Can you think of a way to do something similar with other team sports? Can the same thing be done with individual sports?

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Themes & Topics

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For kids who love sports

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