We recently got a chance to check out a demo for Hudson Soft’s Deca Sports 2, the sequel to last spring’s Deca Sports for Wii, which shipped two million units worldwide.
How does this newest sports mini-game collection stack up to the competition? Hit the jump for CFD!’s take on four of the upcoming events.
First up, we got our hands on darts, a game familiar to pub dwellers the world over. The rules were pretty standard: You and your opponent each start with a score of 301 points and the first to reduce theirs to exactly zero wins. You hold the Wiimote like you would a dart, on its edge with the A and B buttons pinched between your thumb and index finger. After lining up your shot with the cross-hair, you “toss” your dart with a short thrusting motion towards the screen.
The set-up of this one felt nice, but the Wiimote’s weight didn’t balance well when held in that manner, which made for bit of disparity. Also, it wasn’t easy to judge the amount of acceleration and travel distance required to activate the throw. Too little and nothing happens but too much causes the crosshairs to stray way off course.
I went into this one blind, never having heard of petanque before and knowing nothing beyond the vague nagging assumption that it was somehow French. What I found was a game that was a bit of a strange cross between horseshoes and marbles. In petanque, two teams alternate tossing or rolling metal balls down a rectangular pitch, trying to place them closest to a smaller ball, the “jack”, which is tossed onto the field at the start of each round.
There is actually a surprising amount of strategy to this one. Each turn you find yourself weighing decisions between either simply trying to place your own balls closer to the jack to score more points or trying to knock those of your opponents further away. The mechanic to set the power of the ball’s throw seemed a bit uneven and the pace of the match was pretty slow. The AI didn’t present too much challenge for me, though there were a couple of close spots; I could see this being a lot more fun with a live, smack-talking opponent next to you. This one was a pleasant surprise that I would happily play again.
Next we moved on to the terror of athletically-challenged schoolkids everywhere: dodge ball. Standard dodge ball rules apply, except that in this case catching the ball doesn’t eliminate the thrower. Two teams square off until one side is eliminated. Try not to let those traumatizing flashbacks distract you too much.
This one was a bit on the clunky side. When your team is on defense you control the entire squad at once, moving them in a stiff formation with the analog stick. Throwing the ball is accomplished with a flick of the Wiimote, either fast for hard or slower for a soft throw. In my experience, it seemed fast throws would knock out the opponent every time; not once did they catch an inbound ball. The catch mechanic, hitting the B and Z triggers simultaneously, is kind of neat, but dodging by flicking the Wiimote didn’t seem to work as advertised for me. I was only ever able to get my team to execute a seemingly spine-snapping backward bend to avoid incoming balls.
Lastly we moved onto a stripped-down, rules-light version of 5-on-5 ice hockey. Goalies run on auto-pilot except when putting the puck back into play. Fighting and fouls are also absent, keeping the game fast moving.
I had basically zero expectations to enjoy this one, but actually found it to be rather fun. The opponent’s AI is pretty aggressive and you’ll find yourself body-checked and puckless if you give them half a chance. Shots on goal almost always seem to succeed if you have the time and open space to charge your shot up, but that can be easier said than done. I could see this game, reminiscent at times of the classic Ice Hockey for NES, being a fun, simple intro to the sport for friends or children who don’t know icing from ice cream.
We only got our hands on four of the ten events to be featured in the game (Mogul Skiing, Kendo, Motorcycle Racing, Speed Skating, Synchronized Swimming, and Tennis are the remaining six), but we did find some surprises. Petanque, in particular, caught our attention – who would have known that something French could be this enjoyable? While the quality seemed a bit uneven from game to game, we’re hopeful that some of the remaining sports will provide similar surprises. At the very least, it’ll expand the palate of available options for the next time you have friends or family over. And considering the game will come with Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection multiplayer, you may not even have to wait for that.
Deca Sports 2 for Wii will release September 29th for $29.99.