GAME NAME: Sports Connection
DEVELOPER(S): Longtail Studios
PLATFORM(S): Wii U
GENRE(S): Sport Minigames
RELEASE DATE(S): 30 November 2012
Sports Connection is a must-purchase title for fans of non-responsive, uninspired controls and mindless multiplayer mini games. Sports Connection is comprised of 6 minigames including Tennis, Golf, Baseball, Football (Soccer), Kart Racing and American Football (Sissy Rugby) all of which have significant shortfalls and are riddled with technical issues.
Let’s kick things off with Tennis, which is one of the bearable minigames in this collection. Essentially Sports Connection Tennis is a clone of Wii Sports tennis, with the same controls (if not worse) than its almost 6-year-old forerunner. The multiplayer mode allows one player to shoot tennis balls at their opponent using the gyro controls of the Wii U Gamepad. This is somewhat satisfying for one player but the player who is tasked with returning the shots is left to deal with frustratingly unresponsive controls. What is the point of playing a multiplayer minigame if only one player is having fun?
Next up we have Football or as our friends to the west like to refer to it… “Soccer”.
The highlight here is the penalty shootout minigame. Once again the highlight is for the player with the Wii U Gamepad but not the one with the regular Wii remote. The penalty taker picks their positioning on the gamepad screen and if all works out the ball actually floats within a vast proximity of the desired location. As for the goalkeeper… just close your eyes and hope for the best as the controls are beyond wrecked. The traditional mode sees players guiding their onscreen avatars with the gamepad antalog sticks. This seems like a fun concept at first but after a while the controls will make gamers want to throw their newly purchased Wii U gamepad against a brick wall.
Things only get worse from here onwards so if you haven’t yet received the message go ahead and read on.
Surprise, surprise, the Sports Connection rendition of Golf is also a Wii Sports knockoff with dated controls. Keep in mind that the mini-games require a Wii Motion Plus Remote yet not one of them make use of the added motion feature. Great concept, that. Okay, back to the golf… apathetic environments, poor controls and dated physics, basically riddled with the same issues as the previously mentioned sports.
In Baseball the fielding side (Gamepad user) are at a distinct disadvantage, not because of the way the game has been set up but once again (we hope you’re starting to get the picture) because of the controls. While the pitching itself isn’t too bad the task of fielding is near impossible. You are required to hold the gamepad up in uncomfortable positions in able to locate the ball and catch it. This isn’t the worse idea they could have had but the execution leaves a lot to be desired.
Kart racing provides a the same unresponsive controls when using either the gamepad or Wii Remote. The only difference with Karting is that the environments are even worse than in the above-mentioned games. There are multiple tracks to choose from which could be seen as a consolation at best but when the tracks are as uninspired as they are it’s tough to give this game the benefit of the doubt.
Finally there’s American Football, a game where you are forced to switch between a Wii Remote to throw the ball and the gamepad to control the offense and defense of the team. The touch screen is used to navigate players but this is tough to accomplish as you can only move a single player at a time while the field is continuously changing. The game tells you to pick plays based on what the other team is doing. The team strategies are a complete thumb-suck and actually getting the player to throw the ball is an achievement in itself. This is easily the worst game of the lot.
Sports Connection is a cheap rehash of previous sporting minigame titles. Perhaps Ubisoft thought that by trying to replicate Wii Sports they could pull off the same success and profits? They couldn’t have been more wrong. This is probably the worst title in the current Wii U library.