Big Beach Sports Wii
I think it’s safe to say, everyone and their mum has had a punt at making a mini-game collection for Wii. Some stuck out as being actually enjoyable, most fell into a pool of shark infested sewer water to forever rot. What is seriously needed in this category is a big injection of originality. Now that the novelty of the Wii is wearing off, developers are going to have to find that special something to make their games memorable. After sampling what BBS had to offer, it was clearly a swing of the metaphorical Wii-mote and a snap of the metaphorical wrist-strap resulting in a metaphorically broken television.
The game offers six sports, which do at least manage to not be played in the exact same way. There’s Beach Soccer, Beach Cricket, Beach Volleyball, Beach Disc Golf, Beach Boules and Beach American Football. I immediately get the vibe that the beach is a major theme in the game. Beach Soccer is in itself a riddle. Given that the game only allows the use of the Wii-mote, playing a good old game of football seems a hard concept to imitate. Needless to say, this sport is ridiculously unsatisfying. Pressing buttons to pass a ball to your lifeless team mates then swinging the wii-mote any which way you feel like to shoot just doesn’t feel like that funny old game called football, or that funny old thing called fun. Never mind, eh? There’s five other sports. Surely at least one of them is worth playing, right?
Not really, no. Maybe if you have the mental capacity of a chimp or are, in fact, a chimp. Otherwise, no. For one thing, a lot of the sports have done more than take a leaf from Wii Sports’ book for gameplay mechanics. Some are pretty much like-for-like clones with a little sand thrown in for good measure. Unfortunately what they forgot to emulate was the quality. When you’re clearly borrowing from an existing product, the least you can do is do it right. Like in school when the teacher used to nag the kids who made mistakes when copying from a textbook.
Forgetting the shocking football and the Wii Sports clones, there are still one or two original sports to try. American Football and Volleyball. Normally not sports a self respecting Brit would get too excited about, but as I was getting into the spirit of things, I figured why not? I’m at the fake beach, trying to make the most of the fake family holiday atmosphere. In hindsight, that wasn’t the greatest attitude to adopt. American Football is little more than a shake of the wii-mote. That’s all I can say about it really. Volleyball is where the entertainment begins. Wait a minute, that’s not entertainment! It’s cruel, mocking hate! Volleyball works about as well as using a turd for a battery. Nothing is going to do what you want it to and you end up with crap on your hands. It seems to have been engineered to make you doubt yourself. No amount of correct gesturing can encourage your on-screen holiday makers to do your volleyball bidding and you begin to worry that maybe it’s all your fault. If that’s you, don’t worry, you’re not incompetent, this game just doesn’t work like regular (good) games. All of this leaves only 2 sports I’d class as playable, the two closest to their Wii Sports brethren (Boules/Bowling and Disc Golf/Golf).
Assuming you’ve not already given up all idea of buying this game and stopped reading, there are one or two plus points to think about. Visually, it’s a mixed bag. The characters are fairly unrealistic. They just don’t look natural in any way. At least there’s a pirate who you can play as to make everything better. The exotic island setting is quite nicely done. The scenery seems vibrantly colourful, although I did at one point wonder if that only seemed the case when it was compared against the dullness of the gameplay.
I have definitely saved the best to last, as I now come to the character customisation. Dressing the person up is little more than the Tony Hawks create-a-skater from 6 or 7 games ago. However, BBS gives you the option to create your own personalised face paint by linking up your DS and drawing it yourself. There is a rare moment of enjoyment to be found in graffiti-ing someone’s face like a dodgy high school prank. It’s a great idea and one that I really hope other devs implement more frequently in various ways (Hint: I want to be able to write ‘Ganondorf is a homo’ on Link’s forehead in the next Zelda).
And after all that, I’ve had quite enough of Big Beach Sports. With the knowledge that Wii Sports Resort is just off the horizon, I wonder why anyone would waste their time with this when a far better game on the same theme will be coming to the Wii soon. It’s a shoddy attempt at firing into the overcrowded market. I just feel sorry that the advertising campaign will inevitably help it limp off the shelves.