Review: Triple Running Sports (WiiWare)

Run! No, seriously. RUN.

Every once in a great while, an already great series gets a new entry that not only renews the enthusiasm of fans worldwide, it reinvents and reinvigorates a classic formula. It raises the bar not only for its own series, but for gaming in general. It's the sort of event that has even non-gamers talking, nodding in appreciation and singing its praises. It brings families together and unites peers in a brilliant, unforgettable experience that reminds us all of why we fell in love with video games in the first place.

We're talking, of course, of Donkey Kong Country Returns. Unfortunately, we should be speaking about Triple Running Sports.

By this point, we've shot, thrown, and jumped in triplicate. These were three collections of embarrassingly simplistic events that still managed to get everything about their respective experiences wrong. So, for the literally zeroes of people who clamoured so vocally for more, the Code Monkeys have emerged from their habitat just long enough to sling more feces in our faces.

Triple Running Sports is about as simplistic as a video game is ever likely to get. It's only moderately more engaging than falling asleep on the couch, or accidentally swallowing a fly. If you thought the "run and then press a button to jump" approach from Triple Jumping Sports was far too complicated, then you're in luck. Because now, all you have to do is run.

To the bank.

To cancel your credit card, so that you don't accidentally buy this.

Since the music, graphics and overall presentation haven't changed from the previous releases, read those reviews to see what we thought of them. Or just look at the screenshots yourself, and see if you can think of anything more positive to say about them than, "at least they're not pornographic."

As far as this game goes, it's another collection of three events, centred around a specific theme. In this case it's running, and the events are the 100m Sprint, the 1500m whatever (the game doesn't say), and the 110m Hurdles. The hurdle event does involve jumping, but we'll get to that in a moment.

On the positive side of things, this game does actually improve upon Triple Jumping Sports in some ways. Most noticeably, the waggle recognition is improved. Of course, improved controls in a game like this is an achievement along the lines of being the world's most soulful vuvuzela player; it doesn't matter if nobody wants to experience it.

The events themselves also feel more varied, which isn't a bad thing. It at least means that the three events feel somewhat different, and that's a step in the right direction.

The 100m Sprint, for example, is your standard waggle-thon, but the 1500m plays more like a rhythm game in which you need to shake to the falling prompts. The problem here though is that the prompts never change, or speed up, or slow down. It's a simple left-right-left-right that loops endlessly for the far-too-long duration of the event. And perhaps the oddest thing is that your avatar keeps running, even if you stop shaking the Wii Remote and Nunchuk. You won't win that way, of course, but it contributes to the feeling that what happens on the screen is going to happen regardless of what you do in your living room, and that's not a good feeling for a game to instill.

Also, once you complete that event, you will actually have to wait for all of the computer players (yes, all of them) to finish before you can collect your trophy and move on. So if you come in first place, which is not difficult, you will have to sit and wait for a full minute or more for the others to finish. It's unskippable, and that's inexcusable. If you pause the game you'll have the option of quitting, but doing so means you'll miss out on your medal, which is kind of cruel, since a medal is the least you deserve for playing through this thing.

The 110m Hurdles controls identically to the 100m Sprint, except that now you press A to jump. For a while we weren't even sure if we were clearing the hurdles, as your avatar barely leaps at all, making a sound like he's in pain even when he does clear them. The visual feedback is awful, and it looks more like your little runner is cramping up from severe gas pain as he runs unimpeded through a hurdle rather than jumping over it.

As a test we intentionally let our runner hit the next few hurdles and hurt himself, which was much funnier, and turned out to be a far better way to enjoy the race.

The experience of Triple Running Sports can be summed up with one word. Actually, it can be summed up with one letter: zzzzzzzzzz.


Triple Running Sports seems to improve somewhat on the waggle-recognition issues that plagued Triple Jumping Sports, but that doesn't make the waggling any more fun. The presentation is flat and without heart, and the gameplay, if you can call it that, is insulting. Code Monkeys squandered any goodwill it might have earned with Manic Monkey Mayhem by following it up with the Triple ______ Sports series at all, but spreading the experience over four (and counting!) pointless and unpolished releases is definitely a slap in the face to consumers.

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