In the promotional literature, developer Code Monkeys claim that Triple Shot Sports is "the most advanced recreational shooting game available for WiiWare." Well, with its presentation of Olympic shooting events it's certainly unique, but the only thing we found to be really "advanced" was the state of the pointer bounding box issues we experienced.
At first everything seems hunky dory: you use the pointer to input your name and make selections from the rather simple menus offered with the style and grace you'd expect from any Wii game making use of the interface, but a little time with the firearm-based events will reveal some frustrating pointer calibration issues that are a bit surprising to see in a title appearing this late in the Wii's life cycle.
But before we get to that, let's check out the basics: you can play solo against some "AI opponents" (little more than a list of flags, names and scores) or take on friends and family to see who's the sharpest shooter in the pack. Select from one of three difficulties and then pick your event: archery, rapid fire pistol or running target. Each event offers some challenge both by design and via questionable controls, with added tedium for good measure in the form of multi-screen instructions to skip through every time you play. If you manage to earn any medals they can be reviewed later in the virtual trophy case.
Archery is an exercise in patience given the process to take a shot: shake the Nunchuk to pull an arrow from the quiver, wait for an animation to complete, then shake again to draw the bowstring. After that animation completes, the camera switches from looking at your dorky "Stars and Stripes"-bedecked avatar (more on this fine specimen later) to a first-person view looking down the sights of a compound bow. You simply squeeze and , line up your shot and then release to let that arrow fly! Of course where it will land, you never really can tell: with two gauges corresponding to your avatar's fatigue and the wind speed, as well as a compass to indicate wind direction, you'd think lining a shot would be easy. However, the wind speed apparently continues to fluctuate after you let loose your missile, making it extremely difficult to compensate for: we've had shots that appeared to be dead centre with a steady aim and little to no wind end up skewing to the outer target rim, and then ones where we didn't think we were compensating enough hit dead centre.
Pistol shooting is a good deal better: press and hold to raise your pistol, to fire it and move right to switch to the next target; with five to shoot in a short time limit (eight seconds for the first four rounds and six seconds for the last four). Of course it would have been nice to know that raising your pistol before the targets rotate towards you (or failing to lower it after time expires) results in a foul and zero score for the round, but we're sure most people playing this game compete professionally so it's not a big deal. This is the first event where we noted some potential pointer bounding-box issues: in the second set of rounds we sometimes found it a little slow to aim our shot when rapidly switching targets, though this wasn't a big problem and we managed gold and silver medals at Rookie and Advanced difficulty levels, respectively. It's certainly the least annoying of the events in terms of set-up since you can quickly click through the starting animations before each round.
The Running Target event could have been the best and we would have enjoyed it the most, but for some of the worst pointer bounding-box issues we've seen. The set-up is basic: you have two rounds of looking down the sight of a virtual rifle scope shooting at targets moving past in a rectangular box. steadies your aim and fires. It's a simulated bolt-action rifle and as in the other events the Nunchuk is used: this time pressing and giving it a good shake to reload between targets. It takes a steady hand to get good results because we found even the slightest tilt up or down on the Remote had some devastating effects due to the apparently teeny-tiny bounding box used for the pointer. The scope zoom happens automatically; if you move the pointer away from the screen it zooms out as if you've put the rifle down. That's fair enough, except when you're still pointing at the centre at the screen, which doesn't pose a problem in the other events. Sometimes when we moved the Remote to try to get the reticule back we ended up aiming at some pretty strange angles just to try to get it centred again. Just to rule out the Remote itself as the cause we tried disconnecting and reconnecting it and even swapped it out for a different one, but it was a consistent problem. Despite these issues we were able to earn a gold in Pro difficulty, though it can be an incredibly frustrating event in the absence of any player-driven calibration options.
As mentioned earlier the character models don't look too cool and it's not just because they're medium poly-count models with low-res textures: seeing three medallists on a podium slowly turning and waving their arms with eyes and mouths frozen open is more than a little disturbing. The AI scores pretty well, so getting a medal rank is quite an achievement; especially given your pointer calibration-based handicap, though amusingly you'll earn a "world record" just by getting the highest local score — even if you come in dead last!
Triple Shot Sports might have been an okay game for people into target shooting given the unique aspect of portraying Olympic medal events, but it clearly needed some more testing or configuration options prior to release. Consequently, players will be in for a bit of frustration in at least two of the three events, which isn't helped by the unnecessary (and annoying) Nunchuk implementation and excessive need to skip screens. If you're a die-hard fan of Olympic shooting you can give it a try, but we'd suggest choosing any one of a myriad of other games on the Wii featuring target shooting instead.