A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this is a simple collection of seven classic family friendly outdoor games. It provides intuitive motion sensitive controls for activities including basketball and mini-golf, and can be useful in teaching younger players the rules of less common backyard games such as croquet, badminton, and lawn darts. Note, though, that the difficulty level is surprisingly high. Because there's so few activities, most families will squeeze only a few hours of fun out of the game, making this full-priced title feel inordinately expensive.
What's it about?
Miniature golf, croquet, basketball, lawn darts, volleyball, horseshoes, and badminton are the seven classic games that make up SUMMER SPORTS: PARADISE ISLAND. Each of the games can be played individually or as a part of a series of games strung together on the fly, with points from each game accumulating in a total score for that play session. It supports up to four players in team-based and competitive play, and provides means for opposing players to gently taunt one another in hopes of throwing off the other's concentration. If you perform special feats, such as scoring two ringers in one turn in horseshoes, you'll be awarded \"accolades,\" which are tracked on your player profile and can lead to boosts in your overall game rank.
Summer Sports stays remarkably true to the traditional rules of each of the games it features. What's more, players actually need to mimic many of the physical actions found in the real world versions of these games, such as making a swiping motion to swing a badminton racquet and miming an underhand toss to throw a horseshoe. As a result, players familiar with the real versions of these games ought to find the experience fairly intuitive, while rookies to the seven sports will likely come away with a good understanding of what each involves. This is especially true of a game like croquet, which often appears byzantine to the uninitiated but becomes easily fathomed after a few moments of play in Summer Sports.
Is it any good?
Unfortunately, the game is rarely easy going. It takes extensive practice to get a feel for the force required to, say, throw a basketball a particular distance, or swing a putter with the force. There are three difficulty settings, but they only affect the abilities of computer-controlled opponents, not the difficulty of making a good lawn dart toss or a tricky croquet shot. Making matters worse, the motion sensitive interface isn't as polished or reliable as it is in a game like Wii Sports, which could lead to some frustration from casual players who expect the Wii remote to consistently interpret their movements correctly. However, the biggest hurdle to recommending Summer Sports is that it's a full priced game with just a handful of quick little challenges. The value proposition simply doesn't exist.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how these games compare with their real world counterparts. Do you feel as though the movements required in the game authentically mimic the actual physical motions required to swing a racquet, throw a basketball, or toss a horseshoe? Do you think the game accurately detects subtle changes in the amount of force you use to toss a lawn dart or swing a putter? Does playing a virtual version of a game like croquet or lawn darts make you want to try them in real life?
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