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Deca Sports: The Promise of Curling

Company: Hudson Soft

Deca Sports looks to be a simple and cute sports game compilation. If you're curious about the name, "deca" is a Greek prefix that means 10, which refers to the 10 sports that will be available in the full game. I got to play around with 4 of them for this preview.

The look of the game is cute and colorful, and fits in with the Wii's "Mii" theme. Unfortunately, you can't use your Miis in Deca Sports, so it may lose some of its appeal at that point. Even so, the simple character designs do work the same way that Mii's work, and we may yet see some elaborate character customization within the theme. There are also some nice touches with things like transitions, i.e. when you set up your teams, that screen transitions to a scoreboard, then the camera pans out and over the action. The game is also sponsored by Adidas, but the logo placement is kept to a reasonable minimum.

The first sport I tackled was Supercross, which was dirt bike racing in an arena. This was probably the wrong sport to try as the first, as it was pretty tough to get the hang of. You hold the Wii-mote with two hands at either end and tilt to steer. You can also manipulate your jumps by twisting the remote forward or back. For the most part, it felt pretty slippery and the tracks felt very short and closed in. 2 player mode was available in this preview, and it made use of a split-screen for simultaneous competition. The game that wasn't available in this preview was the go-kart racing game, so it remains to be seen whether the control scheme on that will be easier to pick up on.

Next I tried Badminton. It seems exceptionally easy in comparison, and it's often hard not to hit the birdie until smash shots start coming into play. That isn't to say that there's no learning curve here. You can pull off short or long shots based on the direction of your swing when you serve. You can hit the birdie with soft or strong swings, and with the right timing, you can pull off a high-powered smash shot in order to trip your opponent up. It gets to be a bit of a mind game, because you can only use a smash when your opponent has hit the birdie high in the air. Likewise, you don't want to give them the opportunity to use a smash on you, so it becomes a strategy as to which type swing you want to use.

Skating was another one with a bit of a learning curve to it. It seems to rely on rhythm more than anything, but it's tough to get the hang of. You're required to control your character with the analog stick on the Nunchuk while simultaneously using the Wii-mote to jump at times.

Beach Volleyball was probably the most fun out of the bunch here, especially with a human partner. I didn't get a chance to check out how chaotic the 4 player action could be, but it's a great 2 player team game. You need to plan ahead and read your opponent's moves, however, so it may still be hard to get the hang of if you're inviting some novice players into your game.

The promise of some unique sports still keeps this game on my list to watch. Deca Sports seems to be going for a just a short step above casual gaming with this offering, and hopefully we'll see some fine tuning and more complexity available in the full version.

Basketball, Archery, Snowboarding, Kart racing, and Soccer are still on the horizon. But best of all, there's the promise of Curling. I wanted to say this is a video game first, but it turns out there have actually been several other curling video games, including Minna no Curling, which was available as of 2006 for the suitable DS system in Japan. But hey, Curling on the Wii! Aren't you excited?

-Fights with Fire, GameVortex Communications
AKA Christin Deville

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