Decathlon 2012 (DSiWare)

Game Review

Decathlon 2012 Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Philip J Reed

Torch it

Well, the London 2012 Olympic games are officially underway, and the eShop now has its equivalent of those ubiquitous bootlegged t-shirts in the form of Decathlon 2012, a digital souvenir that hopes to coast on the excitement of the Olympics without shelling out for the rights to refer to them by name. Already we're off to a great start, right?

Decathlon 2012 openly attempts to ape the simple controls of bygone sports games you might have played on the Atari. This, however, feels more like an excuse for not fixing the unintuitive, unresponsive and repetitive controls on offer here. Had the developers gone the full retro route and given us Atari-style graphics and sound effects, it might have been able to coast on its nostalgic charm. The fact that they didn't — and the fact that this "retro" mindset seems to apply only to the controls and nothing else in the game — leads us to believe it's an after-the-fact justification of subpar coding rather than a deliberate choice.

As you might expect, the game includes ten events. These are, in order: 100m Sprint, Long Jump, Shot Put, High Jump, 400m Run, 110m Hurdles, Discus Throw, Pole Vault, Javelin Throw, and 1500m Run. Unfortunately there's not nearly as much variety as you might think.

We hope you enjoy dragging your stylus mindlessly back and forth across the touch screen, because that's what most of these events have you doing. In fact, in the case of the four running events that's all you do. The 110m Hurdles event admittedly requires you to lift your stylus in order to clear a hurdle, but it's not enough of a departure to stand out.

The Long Jump and High Jump require you to perform the ever-so-tricky feat of tapping the screen once after sliding your stylus back and forth. The Pole Vault and Javelin Throw are even more complicated, what with having to slide your stylus yet again after sliding it back and forth across the screen. The Shot Put and Discus Throw spice things up a bit by having you tap before sliding your stylus across the screen. You know, just to keep you on your toes.

The controls are awful. Yes, sliding your stylus back and forth across the screen works — at least in the sense that it causes your athlete to move forward or throw whatever he's carrying — but it's not clear what effect you're having on what actually plays out in the event. Sometimes one motion will cause your athlete to stumble in his jump and go almost nowhere, and the next time the same motion has him sailing through the air like a paper plane. There's no clear correlation between what you do and what actually happens, and that does not make for satisfying gaming.

There is a practice mode that allows you to play any of the events in isolation, and it does make the prompts more obvious, but it still doesn't make the gameplay any more fun, or any less confusing.

The graphics don't look particularly bad, but they are certainly about as bland as you can get. Ditto the sound, which is unmemorable, apart from when the crowd chants for you with deliberate unintelligibility, as they have no idea what you've entered for your name.

Decathlon 2012 could have been redeemed somewhat if its multiplayer was handled better, but as it stands you pass the console around to a total of four people, taking turns. Yes, even though in many of these events you are competing against other athletes at the same time, you have to play each of those in isolation from each other.

Player one competes against a group of anonymous computer drones, then passes the console to player two, who also competes against anonymous computer drones as though player one never existed. That's not much fun, especially since all a spectator will see is their friend dragging a stylus back and forth across a screen. The lack of simultaneous play is a real missed opportunity for the camaraderie that drives the enjoyment of most sports games.

Decathlon 2012 hopes you'll buy it on the grounds that it exists at the same time as the London Olympics. We hope that you have better things to do with your money.


It's pretty clear to us that Decathlon 2012 is a rushed cash-in. Despite the fact that there are 10 events you'll be lucky if it takes you a full five minutes to see all the content, and it must be something of an accomplishment for a game so short to feel so unbearably repetitive. If this were a free download we'd still advise you not to waste your time, so charging 500 points for this seems almost criminal. Here's a better Olympic tie-in: sprint 1500m away from this game and don't look back.

From the web

User Comments (57)



Shadowflash said:

For some reason, it seems Cinemax's regular games don't turn out too well, but their Rythmik games turn out amazing.



grumblegrumble said:

Cinemax is iffy.. I do remember slightly enjoying Sokomania, though, even though it got blasted here, as well.



TheDreamingHawk said:

@cinemaxgames What are you laughing at? Feel like making an idiotic comment about NL like the makers of that wiiware game did? Look at a game like shantae or Cave story, then try to bring another hit to the Eshop lile Rytmik Retrobits.



blackknight77 said:

World Sports competition on the Virtual Console and PSN is good if your into this genre of game. Although Track and Field II with a NES Advantage joystick is still gets the gold medal from me.



theblackdragon said:

come on, TheDreamingHawk, please be nice to visiting devs. if their game bothers you, don't buy it, but laying into them like that is not cool. :/



iphys said:

Is cinemaxgames seriously Cinemax and not some troll? I could understand a lot of times people make a game and maybe think it's better than it is, but if they honestly thought this game was 1/10, that just blows my mind that they would release it for 500 points and then come in here laughing about it.



BenAV said:

I do have to agree with TheDreamingHawk... If you expect a game to only be good enough to receive a 1/10, then it's almost criminal to stick it on the service and try to con unsuspecting buyers to purchase it.
Any game from Cinemax is now an instant pass for me, that's just not on.



OorWullie said:

@cinemaxgames I have to agree with the others above.I can't believe you would release a game so bad then come on here and laugh about it saying you're happy it got a 2/10.I'm pretty sure you must be a small company to release this tat so its really not the best idea to come on to Nintendo forums and leave comments like that.Your name is now tainted with me as like BenAV said above, that's just not on!



Undead_terror said:

@cinemaxgames you should make a zombie shooter,there not many zombie games on the eshop and if you dont rush it then you will get somewhere,look at how popular undead storm turned out to be!



rayword45 said:

There's definitely something behind this. They continually protect their games, they can't honestly just say "ololol we expectz a 0/10 guyz" and be done with it.

My assumption is that they're so used to their non-application DSiWare being panned that they're simply "sticking it to the (half)man" per say.



BenAV said:

@cinemaxgames Nintendo Life does a great job of reviewing games.
They are never biased and judge a game on its merits.
What reason would that have for targeting out your games as opposed to others that they give good reviews?

I advise you just take in the criticism, use it to help you improve the quality of what you produce in the future and stop posting childish comments on review websites because that isn't going to earn you many customers.

OK, that's my little rant done.
Have a nice day.



BenAV said:

I searched around and I found one review on a website I've never heard of before that gave the game a 7/10.
Every other site I found just linked back to Nintendo Life's review because clearly this is a trusted and respected source.

Phil has reviewed enough games in his time to tell a good game from a bad one. Not everyone is ever going to agree on a score for any game and you should really just try to take in what he has to say and try to improve next time rather than just dismissing his opinion completely due to him being a staff member of Nintendo Life.
It comes across as being pretty childish and unprofessional and will likely do your business more harm than good.



Martin_Linda said:

Hi folks, I'm the only programmer of Rytmik series (and sound designer) as well as of Decathlon. You can trust me I gave the same effort in programming Decathlon as I did with Rytmik series. I think this game is quite enjoyable at least for everyone who give it a chance. For sure we don't make games to deserve 1/10 score. It was a joke. Have a nice day.



TheDreamingHawk said:

@cinemaxgames I only found I review also for this game. Considering how it's a game on a site like a blog, I wouldn't go there. NL 's reviews are even seen by nintendo, being shown on the club nintendo reward page. If you want to make a good game that appeals for it's price, then do better, take inspirations from Renegade Kid, Wayforward, Two Tribes, and do something like those companies did. Even if it takes you a year, it'll be worth it.



rayword45 said:

To be fair, I do believe that NL HAS been unfair to certain companies at times (BPlus is the prime example)



Tinky said:

Some thoughts:
-Whenever there is a bad score for a game, trolls pop out from somewhere in Nlife who additionaly bash the game. Those trolls are nearly always tolerated, even when their language is quite dirty. I´ve seen it many times happen here, that trollish behaviour can´t be overlooked every single time, so it´s quite obvious that that is wanted here, so the score at a certain game can be cemented further on (look, a hundred other people are badmouthing the game too, so we´re right, yeah)
-some reviewers seem to make it a habbit to "collect" bad scores with their reviews. From this reviewer, I´ve read somewhere in the forums (don´t remember where exactly, but should be easy to find out) that he kinda made it a "hobby" to collect as many bad scores as possible. And then to... kinda joke around with it.... "not good" for a reviewer, to say the least, but you all knew that, right?
-Of course, this is by far the first time that a game got such a "trollish" score, but honestly, I didn´t say anything for the games before, because, well, I had fear of the trolls that would inevitably rush you afterwards. And I´m pretty sure, there are really many people out there who think exactly like me
-to say something about this game; I didn´t play it, but watch videos of it, looks pretty much the same like the arcade game "Track & Field", which I´m currently playing on the Konami Arcade Classics for DS, and that game is pretty fun.
-And of course; in no way I´m affiliated with Cinemax or any other company, I´m merely stating my thoughts as a long-time gaming fan.
Thank you



ShawnWilson said:

I think NL give excellent reviews. I may not agree with every score they give but in the end this is the only place I come to for reviews on games. I often like to find out a bit more about a game before I make a purchase because even though it may look appealing the actual mechanics of a game may be trash. Even if I or others don't agree with a score and post our thoughts I had never had any reviewer retaliate against my thoughts thus far.

As for cinemaxgames, if they try to play it off like a bad review from NL doesn't hurt them then they don't have me fooled. Even though NL doesn't always effect my final decision they sure do have a lot of influence over my choices in where I put my money in dsiware games. In stead of remaining humble about the review saying by saying something like we will work harder in the future to make more epic games they choose the low road and decided to play if off as a joke. That to me is insulting. If you think simple sliding of the stylus for all the events is entertaining then good luck with those simple mechanics in the future. Why do you have an account on this site if you don't think that an a review on here wouldn't effect your game sales? It couldn't be the huge following of people who visit this site and comment on every review could it?

As for developers and games and reviews in a nutshell, I hope that every review embodies the game itself and nothing else. I wouldn't hold a developer down because they released one bad game. If I don't like cinemaxgames because of how they reacted on this post or because of the release of a game to cash in on the olympic fever and then they make an epic game after all this then I am going to buy it. After I buy it and I enjoy it, if it gets a lesser score then I thought it deserved myself then I might simply say I enjoyed this game and it scored a little higher in my book. In the end to me its all about the games man.



Martin_Linda said:

Thank you for your thougts.

I have an account here to be able to answer questions of people who played or who are interested in our games and to be able to give them direct support here. To be honest, I am not much interested in discusions with people who have not played the game and are strongly decieded not to play. Obviously, I have not much oportunity to convince them after such review, that states everything with this game is wrong (and now particullary the controls which are prety common for this kind of game imo). But for this time I might discuss a bit. Maybe I don't think these controls are not such boring and not the same for every discipline. Maybe it is not all about dragging your stylus mindlessly back and forth across the touch screen. For example there is stamina in 400m and 1500m events and you have to find the right ratio between speed and endurance. Maybe the experience from the controll of 110 hurdless when you have to lift up the stylus in the right moment for the jump is quite different from the 100m run. Maybe the cotroll of other disciplines is quite different from way described in this review (if the reviewer did it the described way, he loosed every attempt). Well maybe someone would consider the controlls of the game and thus all the gamplay challenging. But would you believe me if you are allready convinced with such striking review?



TheDreamingHawk said:

With a 2/10, it means that it isn't a complete disaster, but close. I'm sure this would be a good timewaster, if it wasn't for the price and the control movement.

I'd advise you to wait for nintendo Power's recommendation in their mag. If they don't like it either (Like with Snakeoid), then it probably isn't worth it.

Then again, you COULD try Nintendo World Report, they review DSI games very strictly, so they may be a better source.



Philip_J_Reed said:

From this reviewer, I´ve read somewhere in the forums (don´t remember where exactly, but should be easy to find out) that he kinda made it a "hobby" to collect as many bad scores as possible. And then to... kinda joke around with it.... "not good" for a reviewer, to say the least, but you all knew that, right?

If it's easy to find out, please point me toward that link. Thank you. Otherwise I've either got to assume it a) didn't happen or b) was an obvious joke that was taken as being serious...because the above does not represent my mindset at all.

I give reviews based on my actual experience with the game. No developers are treated more poorly than any other, and none of them get a free ride either. Teyon made a lot of my least favorite games on the service, but that didn't prevent Bird Mania 3D from getting the great review it deserved. Circle's made some of my favorite games...but that doesn't mean I'll pull punches when they release a poor one, like Pirates Assault.

If I don't enjoy the game, it gets a review that reflects that fact. It's as simple as that, and to suggest that I would write bad reviews regardless of a game's merits is, to be blunt, pretty insulting.



BenAV said:

@Philip_J_Reed Well said.I always love reading your reviews.
You seem to really take the time and effort to play through games to full extent (even if they're terrible) and write up a fair review that gives us a pretty good idea of what to expect if we decide to purchase the game.

I guess I can sort of understand why people may get the idea otherwise based on the number of poor reviews you give, but I'm sure if they actually took the time to read them they'd be able to see that you're not handing out anything unwarranted.
If a game is poor, it deserves a poor review and we should be thankful that we have someone who actually takes time out of their life to write them up for us so we don't unknowingly waste our money.

I really admire the work that you do.
Keep it up.



Tinky said:

"If it's easy to find out, please point me toward that link. Thank you. Otherwise I've either got to assume it a) didn't happen or b) was an obvious joke that was taken as being serious...because the above does not represent my mindset at all."

First, regarding your sentence above, I would think it would fall under "was an obvious joke that was taken as being serious"....hm

Well, I was referring to a message where it is counted how many reviews you wrote until that day divided by (low) scores, i.e. how many 1 out of 10, how many 2 out of 10 etc. etc. and one got the impression that there was a race towards collecting as many low scores as possible, because it was so full of lowly scores. Maybe you know what I mean? The reason I didn´t link to the message is that it has been a while when I read it, and without search function, it´s pretty difficult to find something specific from some time ago, hm...There were other messages too regarding this, but I guess it would fall under nit-picking then. kay

Just one more thing which I wanted to point out:You wrote: "If I don't enjoy the game, it gets a review that reflects that fact. It's as simple as that, and to suggest that I would write bad reviews regardless of a game's merits is, to be blunt, pretty insulting."

Now this is really not against you or anyone else specific, I just want to point out one interesting thing you said there, that is, to write a review irrevelant of a game´s merits, but on the same time to be legitimated to give a bad score because of non-appeal for the specific game. Any contradiction seen? The reviewer´s liking or not liking of a game or genre should not overshadow his review. Of course, there are many reviewers that don´t really follow this rule, but that doesn´t make them right.

I´d suggest to call it a day, you´re surly right also.
Also, just for the record I guess, I wrote in my previous message "this is by far the first time that a game got such a "trollish" score" whereas it should of course mean "this isn´t by far the first time that a game got such a "trollish" score"
Well, thank you bye and Peace



K1LLEGAL said:

@Tinky Well this is one of the main problems I have with other Nintendo Life users; they take the reviews way too seriously. They see a 4 and take that as an absolute. They seem to immediately believe the game is rubbish and say "oh well I won't buy it then" but a review is one person's opinion. That is all it is.

If you JUST read Nintendo Life reviews and nobody else's; you're doing it wrong.



BenAV said:

Phil's job as a reviewer is to play through the game and give it a score based on what he feels like it's worth.
There's not really much more he can do than that.

It's a very subjective thing and to get a good sense of how good a game is it's usually good to try to read several different reviews and opinions... but unfortunately this isn't a luxury we usually have with DSiWare games.

Phil played the game, he thought it was worth a 2/10 and he wrote a very nice review to sum up why he thought that way.
He did his job to perfection and I don't really see why anyone should be complaining.



Nintenbro said:

I already knew this was going to be complete garbage, after I viewed the eShop video. I didn't even need to acknowledge the review score on NLife, to validate how horrible this shovelware is. I would be very surprised, if this game even obtains a single rating on the eShop. I'll also feel sorry for whomever does actually rate this on the eShop. Although, anyone who decides to download this kind of deserves whatever they receive...

Not you @Phillip_J_Reed. You took one for the team... Again.



ShawnWilson said:

@Tinky I have seen reviews were the comments said they enjoyed the game and thought is should be a little higher score by more then one person.



cinemaxgames said:

Few comments:
Game is repetitive, YES, it’s true, but it’s sport and sport is repetitive itself. I presume that customers not expect anything else from sport game (we were inspired by 8bit athletic games).

Controls - There is few ways how it can be done. HW buttons, tapping on screen or sliding with stylus. For DSi we think that sliding is best solution. Also Martin Linda explains that control is not same for all 10 events as it sounds.
We’d like make better games, but this review is not helping us. We know only one thing now, that Philip J Reed does not enjoy our game. There is not any inspiration how to make it better.

We released 13 titles on DSiWare. Probably Decathlon is not best of them, but we are sure that it’s not worst.

We have few redeem codes (for EU and US 3DS eShop), so if anybody want try Decathlon, just write us, because we are really interested in a feedback from you, use this link for a request: http://games.cinemax.cz/NintendoDSiWare



BenAV said:

Downloading the game now.
Thanks Cinemax for giving me the chance to play the game and form my own opinion.



Luigi_is_better said:

Hey everybody! After reading the review and comments I was pretty sure I wouldn't like the game either, but then I read the comment from @cinemaxgames that said they would give redeem codes for people to try and give their opinion for it. After playing it I sent this email to them:

"Thank you for letting me try the game, it was indeed better then I thought and read. The stylus control takes a little practice to get used to but not much. I thought about it like training for an actual sport, practicing first. The first time you try, you're going to be bad at it. The one thing I didn't understand yet was tapping again while in the air, such as in the long jump or high jump. Could you explain that to me? Maybe my timing is just wrong.

I played for just under 30 minutes according to my 3DS Activity Log, but that includes reading the manual as well. Then I practiced each event until I got good scores, then tried a decathlon. I did ok, but of course I didn't play very long. Definitely not long enough for a review, but I'd say it deserves more like a 5/10. The graphics and sound fit the theme of 8 bit games you were going for. The biggest complaints I have are the length for the price and the multiplayer. For the former, I feel it should have been $2 for the amount of content. It's not long (I technically saw everything in under a half an hour) and the replay value isn't that high as far as score based games go. As for the latter, I think a definite plus would have been for download play/wireless so you could compete. That would have upped the replay value considerably.

I'm just giving my first opinions on it and I will let my family try it to see if theirs vary at all. We'll also try multiplayer. Again, thank you for the opportunity to try the game and I will post on Nintendo Life this info as well to hopefully raise awareness of the game and your company being very nice, courteous, and generous. May you continue making good games, thank you!"



Nintenbro said:

I have also obtained a free redemption code for the US region, but I'm trying to pass it along to a reviewer at WiiWareWave. I will make sure I supply Cinemax Games with a link, if and when a review for Decathlon is posted.



Odnetnin said:

@cinemaxgames I already received a review code from Digitally Downloaded, but if you really are interested in hearing players' opinions, I will link you to my review once it's posted.



Martin_Linda said:

@Luigi_is_better: Thank you for your comment! To your question about "tapping again while in the air, such as in the long jump or high jump". Yes there is very important the timing, especially for the long jump. In the long jump there is the green "height" bar, that indicates the best time for this tap - and in that moment you switch from the fly phase to landing phase (arms and legs towards) and that can significantly extend your jump. But you must tap before the "height" bar turns red (you are to far in the jump phase) and not to early (you can even shorten your jump when switching to landing phase to early). In the height jump the tap switches from the take off phase to fly phase, but right timing differs depending on the moment where you start your jump (in the take off phase you move more vertically and in the fly phase you switch to move more horizontally for a moment and you move your legs up). I hope this helps:)



TheDreamingHawk said:

Bashing NL just because you don't agree with their score is rather rude.

Reminds me of the person who complained about NL's review of Soccer Bashi (whatever it was called) on wiiware



theblackdragon said:

reviews are essentially one person's opinion about a given game. it's why we link to Metacritic, so that people can see what others have to say along with what we've put up. if you don't like what we have to say, you're more than welcome to go elsewhere to get your review information; we'll be the first to tell you that we're not the be-all, end-all of video game reviewing on the internet. :3

while we do appreciate both support and criticism equally, I believe we're past that part of the discussion by now. If you have any further comments about our reviewing style, members of staff, or anything else that would be off-topic for this thread, please feel free to use our Contact Form to let us know. Thanks in advance for helping to keep this discussion on track, guys :3



Justaguest said:

Funny to watch all "dedicated" Nlife members who knew how terribly this game will end up and how its not even worth trying now begging for a code. If you trust and defend this reviewer so much why even bother with this game? Anyway this game comes from country where i am from and where is hardly anyone owning nintendo system so im happy cinemax decided for nintendo eshop. Im not into these kind of games so i pass:) but seeing the positive ratings in eshop makes me delighted. Hopefully it will turn out well!



kuroneko said:

I have managed to find three more reviews for this game, the scores being 1/10, 3/10 and 1/5, OUCH! I wonder if @cinemaxgames will simply "LOL" at those scores too? I will never purchase a Cinemax game after such an arrogant display.



Parasky said:

This is such a obvious cash in that it just dreams of your money, not it's own quality.



ATDI said:

These comments are very entertaining. Especially because the publisher had the response of a teenager on Youtube. Do you know anything about public communications or are you enjoying being a self destructive "company"?



C-Olimar said:

I like the way Cinemax gave out review codes, but they were a little arrogant. I was actually surprised they gave the game out for free, but I guess they knew no-one on this site was going to buy it!

My advice to them is to get Rytmik on the eShop, taking advantage of higher file size limits and DLC!



Windy said:

If the game has a low review here......Why does it have a good review in the Eshop? I'm often puzzled as to why every single game in the Eshop has a 4+ star rating. Do the Buyers rate them high because they bought a dud?

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