Hudson’s Deca Sports series has been a solid (if unspectacular) supplement to the Wii Sports games on the Wii. They throw in more games, make the controls simple and focus on multiplayer. Unsurprisingly, they’ve now tried a DS installment. (Come on, Deca Sports DS? DSDS? How was that not going to happen?) There are still ten games, the controls are still simple, and single-card multiplayer means you can play with friends. Should you want to, though?
The ten events included are certainly…diverse. First, there’s arm wrestling. It’s a touch-screen quick-time event game that really doesn’t feel like you’re competing with anyone. Clay shooting uses a dual-screen setup with aiming on the bottom and the targets on top, which is just confusing, since there’s no information on the bottom screen and putting things there would have made more sense. Ping-pong is solid, though it’s unclear whether there are any factors other than timing going on. Sky diving could have been a Pilotwings-style game, but instead it’s about moving and rotating a guy into certain positions to create a formation with your team. Wall climbing feels a little like Track and Field, since most of it is alternating pressing two buttons to climb left and right. Rugby is incredibly simplified, and it seems like the only viable strategy is to hold up and press A a lot. Golf isn’t bad, but the minigame nature of the whole thing means there are better options on the system. Bobsled feels a lot like the Mario & Sonic version, where the main goal is to just not run into the sides. Cheerleading is a total ripoff of the Ouendan/Elite Beat Agents games, and ends up being more fun than you’d think, but the music isn’t quite on beat. The tenth event, Sepak Takraw, is probably the only digital implementation of this game. It’s part-tennis, part-soccer and all-obscure.
It was nice of Hudson to allow single-card 6-player multiplayer. Playing the single-player mode is not captivating at all, though, so it’s fortunate it’s there. The added one-player “challenges” are a nice way to hone your skills for multiplayer competition.
There’s a bit of customization here: you can create 6-player “teams” in addition to the stock ones, and the detail there is about as detailed as Nintendo’s Miis. Hudson emphasizes that you can adjust their skills, but there are only three options: small characters, which are faster, large characters, which are stronger, and medium characters, which are average. We played with all of them to try them out, and we couldn’t notice a difference.
The problem with jamming ten sports into one game is that you get a tenth of the quality. There’s still some redeeming value here, and if you’re a Sepak Takraw fan it’s a must-have, but Deca Sports DS won’t stay in the system for long.