EA sports freestyle want to throw Wii gamers yet another party, this time in the form of Celebrity Sports Showdown, a 12 sport strong mini-games package with the added promise of celebrity glamour.
Aimed clearly at the casual, multi-player market EA have created a game with a very minor twist in order to warrant another party, the celebrity.
Not surprisingly in today's current celebrity obsessed world this angle might actually work, but does it actually make a better game?
No. However it would of been nice if EA had developed a slightly different version of this game for Europe, instead we have a game heavily aimed at US gamers because the so called "celebrities" are a mixed bag, some you would of heard of and some you wouldn't.
The big names you might of heard of include Avril Lavinge, Nelly Furtado, Sugar Ray Leonard and Fergie (no not that one, she's the nutty one from Black Eyed Peas). Along side these are a host of American sports stars which honestly we couldn't care less about.
Each "celebrity" is represented as a character to choose in the game, almost like a Mii character but slightly more characterised.
In keeping with the overall shallow nature of the game the celebrities don't have any specialist skills, there are no gameplay differences between each one.
Once you've selected your favourite celebrity (that'd be Avril for Sammy) it's time to play the game.
All of the sports require between 2 and 4 contestants and can be played with 1 to 4 human players with the CPU making up the numbers. Your given the choice of Free play (manually choosing events) or Tourney play where a automatic tournament is planned out for you.
Celebrity Sports Showdown has a total of 12 events to choose from, all of which last up to a couple of minutes and have extremely simple controls which are explained before the start of each event.
So let's go through all the different activities, first up you have two quite familiar sports in the form of "Beach Volleyball" and "Smash Badminton", both very similar and straight forward jump and smash style games, extremely simple Wii Sports Tennis if you will.
"Rapid Fire Archery" is similar to that found in Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games, firing a multiple, moving targets trying to get the highest total score.
Next up are the winter sports, "Slalom Showdown" a simple skiing number and "Curling", with added Wiimote-sweeping action.
Water sports of "Inner Tubing" and "Wild Water Canoeing" bring out more vaguely realistic control methods as you Wiimote-paddle your way down river.
Next up is "Hurdle Derby" where you must Wiimote-ride your horse, corner and jump over fences, "Cliff Hangers" a very unrealistic rock climbing game, "Arena Dodgeball" a simple dodgeball incarnation and "Air Racers" a pilotwings-style fly-your-plane-through-the-rings race.
Finally is our favourite, the "Joust Duel", a fun and physically demanding incarnation of Gladiator's classic "Duel" event (the one with giant pugil sticks, aka cotton buds).
Most of the events give you the choice of "free for all", or "team", letting players choose sides or gang up on another player.
Although the game comes with an impressive 12 events over half of them are incredibly simple and you probably won't want a second go. In the office we managed to play through them all, with a few re-matches, and we still only hit 30 mins of play time.
As you might expect, to get the most out of Celebrity Sports Showdown it really needs to be played with 2 to 4 players, it's a total time waster in solo play.
Although there is nothing specifically wrong with this game, the graphics aren't too bad, the sound is good the menus are well very presented it still falls short due to a few fundamental problems.
The mini games are way to shallow, it makes Wii Sports look like a detailed simulation, when compared to other multi-sport titles, such as Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games, it doesn't even qualify.
At first glance Celebrity Sports Showdown promises quite a lot, once you get past the pointless inclusion of so called celebrities and a misleading count of events you'll probably get tired of the game. Those players who seek another quick turn around party game to play with their friends and need a night off from Mario & Sonic might want to give this a try, anyone else should think twice.