When the editor asked if I was keen to review “Water Sports” I eyed his email nervously. It turned out that he wasn’t being perverse (he’s very nice actually); that really is this unfortunately named game’s title, and in an awkward, albeit humorous twist, it features multiplayer and co-operative modes…
It’s not what you’re thinking though; this game is quite literally about wee, oops I mean Wii water sports. OK, let me rephrase that more carefully: It has nothing to do with questionable toileting activities. It’s all innocent wakeboarding and windsurfing type stuff. Truly. So somehow this game made it onto the shelves labelled as it is, and that’s not the only reason I’m surprised. Despite being carefully packaged with bright and bubbly cartoon people and their sports gear, that’s where the similarities to Wii Sports Resort end.
You see, Water Sports features four different games: water craft (using a Jet Ski), windsurfing, wakeboarding and kite surfing. Funny thing is, they’re all essentially the exact same game.
There are a few scenery and sporting equipment adjustments, but that’s pretty much where the differences end. The same controls are used (the balance board or the horizontal Wii Remote) in the same way for each game, which results in pretty much the exact same movements (including the ‘tricks‘). The objective of each game is to make it to the finish line and collect a few coins along the way. You do get to accelerate to make the Jet Ski move, and ‘pump’ the remote backwards and forward to build up speed in the windsurfing, but that’s all the fun you’ll have. I mean it.
The packaging reads, “With Wii Balance Board support players will get a unique feel of what it’s like to ride the waves in exotic locations around the world!” Sure sounds good, but the reality was that rocking back and forth on the board in a pixelated version of Hawaii left a lot to be desired. At any rate, there seems to be little correlation between the motion sensors and the on-screen movements.
In fairness, I should point out that the windsurfing game seems to actually necessitate the variable of wind. Presumably the objective is to catch the air currents (by switching sides on the board using the ‘A’ button) coming from the onshore windmills to move. However, being able to catch these wind currents is not about skill, just chance. The multiplayer options are touted as one of the selling points of this game. However, the only time you can play alongside your friend is with the wakeboarding game, and in that instance one drives the boat, while the other is on the wakeboard. The other three games involve taking turns, which kind of knocks the fun out of the whole multiplayer idea.
If I were to be really charitable, I’d say that Water Sports could have some kid/family appeal. With its ‘G’ rating, lack of violence and focus on wholesome sporting, it’s certainly suitable to give to young children to play. However, that would be cruel.