Review: Deca Sports 2 (Nintendo Wii)

Deca Sports 2
Developer: Hudson
Publisher: Hudson
Genre: Sports Minigames
Release Date: 09/29/2009

Most video game systems become associated, and then inundated, with a specific genre. Remember all the dark and gritty, cyberpunk looking games from the early days of the PlayStation or the overly huge, Rare-style 3-D platformers on the Nintendo 64? The Wii has become the system of minigame collections, for better or worse. The very first game people play on their freshly unboxed Wii is Nintendo’s own Wii Sports, a title I continue to play long after giving up on everything else for the system. Truth is, for me at least, the Wii is the system I bust out when I have company, usually non-gamer company, at that. My teenage niece is not going to want to play Uncharted on a Saturday night.

The original Deca Sports was a smash hit of game, moving more units than much more heavily lauded games. I am honestly not surprised by the success of the franchise. Minigame collections sell well for the Wii, be it Carnival Games or Nintendo’s own Wii Sports Resort, people cannot get enough of them. I find this intriguing. My personal preference, when it comes to gameplay experiences, is a long, multiple sitting journey. RPGs, Sports, and, especially Sports Management Sims, are my poison of choice. They are fun in the long term with a long learning curve and a long lifespan. That being said, I do enjoy playing minigame collections on a cold afternoon and, lo and behold, it is definitely a cold day in Kansas City. So, put on some Gary Numan, grab something warm to drink, and let’s have a looksee at what Deca Sports 2 has to offer.

Synchro2

Synchronized Swimming
Synchronized Swimming is a unique approach to fitting a sport I never expected to see in a video game into a video game. It’s very similar to the much loved Dreamcast oddity Cool Cool Toon, Synchronized Swimming is a rhythm game in which both swimmers are encircled by circles that pulse with the beat of the routine. By moving your WiiMote in the correct manner, on the beats, your colorful little water dancer will do their best Esther Williams impersonation. Sadly, I just aged the myself a couple of decades with that reference. I’ll leave out that Lawrence Welk joke I had planned for the Short Attention Span Summary, lest anyone think I am 80. Anyway, Synchronized Swimming is a fun diversion, but I cannot imagine there being to many replays of it. 0/1

06roadrace_b

Motorcycle Road Racing
As the site’s go to motorcycle guy, I expected to hate the Motorcycle Road Racing as much as the motorcycles in Mario Kart Wii. Oddly, I kind of like it. No, really. It shocked me, too. Much like the aforementioned Mario Kart, the WiiMote is turned sideways and held like a very tiny set of handlebars. It’s really easy, but also very fun two player. Would it stand on it’s own? No, but as part of this collection, it shines. 1/2

Speedskating3

Speed Skating
Speed Skating took me a while to pick up. It was not the easiest, or most natural, minigame to learn, but I was getting my Apollo Ono on pretty well. The basic gist is that the WiiMote and Nunchuk are moved vertically, in rhythm, to simulate the motions a speed skater uses to race. Not the most exciting game, but a pleasant surprise, to be sure.
2/3

00icehockey_a2

Ice Hockey
As Matt ably described in the Preview, Ice Hockey is a very good minigame. I see why it is so prominently mentioned on the box. Is it stand-alone good? Shockingly, it is pretty close. With some tweaks and a metagame, I could definitely see the Ice Hockey game being released on it’s own. Once the Tutorial is finished, even new players can pick the game up quickly and get to working the boards. Plus, hockey jerseys are totally slimming! 3/4

Mogul2

Mogul Skiing
The Mogul Skiing is another game that uses the Nunchuk and rhythm, but to a lesser effect than Speed Skating. Shimmy through moguls and execute a jump. Really not interesting and not as replayable as some of the other games. 3/5

Dodgeball3

Dodgeball
Dodgeball is a game that has a pedigree on Nintendo consoles, so I had high expectations for this one. I was not disappointed, but a little confused. If you leave expectations behind, Dodgeball works quite well, but it is surreal and strange, at first. The mechanic of controlling the whole team simultaneously reminds me of a strange five man puppet I saw once. It is odd, but it works within it’s own logic. 4/6

Petanque2

Petanque
Like any number of European bowling games, Petanque is based around throwing weighted balls at a target. If you are familiar with Bocce, you figure it out in a jiff. It reminded me quite a bit of Shuffleboard, which is a good thing. A nice diversion and one of the games I could see playing with a group and enjoying very much. A nice mojito would make this a party by itself. 17 million French people can’t be wrong, right? 5/7

01tennis_b

Tennis
I am not sure why they would try to reinvent the wheel with Wii Tennis, but they did. I’m not saying it is a bad minigame, it’s just pointless. I played the Wii Sports Tennis into the ground and simply could not get excited about playing more Wii Tennis. Executed nicely enough, but not special enough to warrant much play. I wish they could have fit a more interesting game in here instead. 5/8

02kendo_b

Kendo
While Tennis is the least interesting game, Kendo is the most fun, for reasons I do not understand. Not much fun alone, Kendo comes alive with multiple players and lead to some seriously heated conversations. It gets competitive quickly and is a blast to play. 6/9

Darts1

Darts
On the same “Why?” list as Tennis, I wonder why they saw fit to place a darts game on here. Darts have been done to death and they still aren’t fun. This is a video game! If you are going to put something I can do for real, for less money, on a game, make use of the fact it is a video game to make it more interesting. Moving targets? Animation? Something? Even worse, the hand position is unpleasant and not enjoyable. 6/10

With six of the ten games being worth playing, the real test is the metagame. Deca Sports 2 gets around the lack of Miis quite well, with customizable teams of athletes that are exceptionally cute and less “budget” looking than I have seen in other titles. In fact, I almost prefer the models this game uses to Nintendo’s own Miis. My team, the Jaywalkers, was fun to make and customize, and it gave me extra reasons to win games. The tournament modes give you plenty of ways structure a night. On top of all this, the price is a party friendly $30. With six fun games and none that truly suck, blow $20 more on beer and cheese and you have a great night with friends for $50. A good deal, for sure.

The Scores
Story/Modes Rating: Enjoyable
Graphics Rating: Above Average
Sound Rating: Decent
Control and Gameplay Rating: Good
Replayability Rating: Good
Balance Rating: Mediocre
Originality Rating: Mediocre
Addictiveness Rating: Very Good
Appeal Factor Rating: Good
Miscellaneous Rating: Good

FINAL SCORE: ABOVE AVERAGE GAME

Short Attention Span Summary

Perfect for the Wii owner who still needs some sports minigames to entertain themselves and their friends and family, Deca Sports 2 is a nice package with fun games for a nice price. For every mediocre experience I had playing it, there was an experience that was a total blast. I am not the target audience for this game, but it kept me and my family busy for hours and has earned a spot in my small permanent Wii collection. A sure fire recommendation.