Wii Sports has become a huge success for Nintendo: chances are if you’ve played a Wii, you’ve played Wii Sports, and it even wins our coveted Wii Game Most Likely to be Played at Parties Award. The easy-to-play multiplayer title is enjoyed by all demographics, and after a few quick matches, gamers and non-gamers are hooked on the game and want more.
Hudson’s effort to jump on the success of Wii Sports contains a more robust selection of sports, as well as double the amount of activities. More games means a better bang for your dollar, right? Sadly, Hudson’s effort to capitalize on the success of Wii Sports by releasing a game with a very similar art style and gameplay didn’t turn out all that well.
For starters, Hudson clearly missed the mark when making Deca Sports accessible. Wii Sports was intuitive to anyone who picked up a Wii Remote, and they often walked away as happy as Larry. Deca Sports, on the other hand, is all over the place– while you may find a couple of decent sports in this ten-game pack, the majority are an absolute mess and not worth a single cent.
At heart, Deca Sports is a basic compilation of ten sports that try to mimic the design of Wii Sports. Each of the game’s many activities are designed to take advantage of the unique design of both the Wii Remote and Nunchuk. These ten games can be played as-is against a computer opponent, or you can throw in a couple of friends for a more frantic experience. All of the game’s sports can also be played with a single player high-score competition in what's called the Deca Challenge. While nothing spectacular, it can be prove to be somewhat entertaining for a couple of minutes.
It's worth saying now that not every aspect of Deca Sports is a disaster. Out of the ten sports, both curling and archery stand out as highlights of the package. Curling is a ton of fun to play and produced with the Wii, but the rules may take a bit of time to understand. The controls work brilliantly and really add to the enjoyment of the sport. Although archery is a simplistic take on the sport it proves to be a fun activity that requires a steady hand on the Wii pointer to nail those far-away targets.
Besides those though, everything else is just downright horrible. Go Karts, Motocross, and Snowboarding look horrendous, control poorly and contain plenty of frustration that a casual game shouldn’t have to endure. Badminton and Volleyball attempt to mimic the simplistic nature of the sports in a similar fashion to Wii Sports Tennis, but the motion controls lack responsiveness and make it difficult to master shot placement in the same way. Soccer and Basketball are two of the game’s most slow and sluggish sports, and each play host to some of the worst controls seen on Wii. Then there’s the bland and dull rhythm-based Figure Skating, which is so poor it doesn't really merit any description.
It isn’t difficult to tell that Deca Sports missed the boat when trying to copy the style of Wii Sports. The game is incredibly difficult to grasp, with a starting menu that doesn't tell players where they should go first, and the confusion continues after you select your sport, as you'll have to select a team with no explanation on each member's strengths and weaknesses. Deca Sports simply leaves the tutorials as awful, unintuitive text instructions within an optional menu. Not quite what the casual Wii Sports crowd needs, right?
Deca Sports could have been a great addition to the Wii catalogue, but sadly the lack of polish and emphasis put on fine tuning the controls drags it way below its potential. Curling and archery are fun diversions from the pack, but everything else is downright horrendous. At the end of the day, this is one sports compilation that you’re going to want to avoid.