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Here, guest writer Toddie Downs tells us what she makes of Big League Sports on the Wii. Being a huge fan of Wii Sports, but being bad to the point of embarrassment at games like Madden NFL, I approached the Wii game Big League Sports with some trepidation. I needn't have worried. Big League Sports is a refreshingly fun game for all ages.
Big League Sports concentrates on (American) football, basketball, hockey, tennis, lacrosse and soccer. But rather than immerse you in a team-style match, the game instead has players focus on discrete skill sets.
So in football, you throw the ball at moving targets, or complete passes to a wide receiver. In soccer, you practice free kicks in one mini-game, then shift gears and act as goalie, trying to block incoming kicks.
This is the kind of game for which the Wii remote was perfectly designed, particularly on the sports involving throws or passes. You pantomime a throwing motion with the remote, and your character throws the ball. Kicks are done by flicking the remote upwards; it feels odd at first, but the learning curve is short. Blocking passes is potentially the hardest to master, requiring movement and the simultaneous pushing of the A or B button.
You pantomime a throwing motion with the remote.
The only overlap of Big League Sports with Wii-Sports is with tennis, and ironically this provides the only frustration of the game. You cannot use the same swing that made Wii-Sports such a video game tennis phenomenon. If you use that swing in Big League Sports, you will miss ball after ball after ball. How do I know this? Um. Someone told me. Yeah, that's it. In Big League Sports tennis, as with the other sports, the makers give you a visual window with a flashing target when you're supposed to swing.
Now, hard core sports gamers might pooh-pooh the help that the game's visual cues provide. But this same feature makes the game wonderfully accessible for kids, even preschoolers. My own kids had fun trying many of the sports. Certain of the mini-games proved too difficult. For example, in Basketball, one of the mini-games requires you to follow a sequence of moves to complete a slam dunk; none of us were able to dunk successfully, although our collective failure did inspire my spouse - who shuns most video games but loves basketball - to take a turn and see if he could fare any better. (For those who care, he did not.) But the majority of the mini-games provided the kids with just enough challenge and success to keep them excited and motivated.
Big League Sports offers enough variety and degrees of difficulty to have a lot of replay value. Players can try to best each other, or beat their own personal best scores in solo play mode. It's a winner.
With so many different perspectives it can be hard to know where to start - a little like walking into a crowded pub. Sorry about that.
But so far we've not found a way to streamline our review output - there's basically too much of it. So, rather than dilute things for newcomers we have decided to live with the hubbub while helping new readers find the columnists they will enjoy.
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