A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Deca Sports DS is a completely different game from either of the Deca Sports titles available for the Nintendo Wii. If your children have played the Wii versions and liked them, this DS version is likely to appeal to them as well. Playing these sports games in multiplayer mode, against other human competitors, can always be more fun than playing against a computer-controlled team, and Deca Sports is a rare DS game that allows up to 6 other DS owners to connect wirelessly and play against one another without everyone needing their own game card.
What's it about?
DECA SPORTS DS is the third title in its series (the first two being Wii-exclusive games), and like its predecessors, it offers a collection of ten different sports activities. The sports in this collection range from the everyday to the what-the-heck-is-that?: Golf, Bobsled, Ping-Pong, Rugby, Clay Shooting, Arm Wrestling, Cheerleading, Skydiving, Wall Climbing, and Sepak Takraw. Players can create and edit their own teams to play with in individual events or league tournaments. Single-card wireless multiplayer is availalble for up to six people.
Is it any good?
In many way, Deca Sports DS works better than either of its Wii predecessors (Deca Sports and Deca Sports 2). For the most part, the play controls are well devised for the DS's unique touchscreen abilities. Several have very complicated rules, though, so read the tutorials carefully or risk getting lost. And while, with the exception of golf, the particular sports included are well outside the mainstream, they're all fun and different enough that kids shouldn't feel like they've been handed a pile of third-rate leftover sports that nobody else wanted to make games about. In fact, the under-the-radar aspect of some of these sports is a big part of their appeal. Sepak Takraw, for instance, which most players are unlikely to have heard of, turns out to be one of the most fun games in this anthology (although, granted, arm wrestling doesn't offer all that much). Still, it's always nice to see any DS game with single-card wireless multiplayer, as it's really not too common for kids to find friends with the same exact DS game library as them to play games with.
Online interaction: Although it is not technically online, it is worth noting that up to six people can play Deca Sports DS in multiplayer tournaments through the Nintendo DS's wireless capabilities. And unlike many DS games with multiplayer modes, only one Deca Sports game card is needed.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what makes a sport a sport. This game includes activities such as arm wrestling, cheerleading, and skydiving, which many people would not put in the same category as baseball or football. Are all of these activities sports as well? Does playing this game change your thinking about sports and physically active (offline) games?
This game allows you to create a full team of avatars. Parents can ask their children why they created avatars that look they way they did. Are you creating teams based on your family or friends? Is it important to have an avatar that looks like you?
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