Big Beach Sports
- Developer - HB Studios
- Release date - 27th June
Like Wii Sports before it (we did, and so did you), Big Beach Sports is a collection of mini-games based on popular sports. Well, sports anyway. Along with football, American football, bocce and disc golf, there are cricket and volleyball, both of which were given an extended outing at THQ Gamers Day.
Volleyball, first, is an all-Wiimote affair with two players a side, and like Wii Sports tennis movement is automatic. You flick the Wiimote upwards to set the ball for a partner, and then once it's pumped up above the net you swing your arm like a closing mousetrap to crush the other side's tail of hope with a ferocious spike. Early morning metaphors for victory - you can be the cheese, if you like.
Doing things more vigorously means more power behind the spike, and there are also options for net defence by flicking up and pressing B. Serves work much like Wii Sports tennis - flick and then swing your arm. Remember to fasten that wrist strap. And that seems to be all there is to volleyball, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, although without the obvious timing elements of Wii Sports games, the potential for strategy and improvement could be stunted. We certainly had no trouble dominating from the get-go.
Still, cricket! You can bat and bowl. Batting is the more interesting, as the game encourages you to hold the Wiimote like an actual cricket bat, and swing it like one as the ball approaches. This is timing-based, with shots taken too fast lacking power and often drifting into the grateful hands of a fielder, and slow shots often missing the ball completely on its way to the stumps. A well-struck shot, though, can disappear into the water off the edge of the beach for six. Running is automatic, so you need to be sure of your timing or you can end up getting out pretty easily to run-outs. There's no defensive shot option that we could figure out.
You get a couple of overs' worth of balls to post a score, and then it's your turn to field. Or rather bowl, since fielding is automatic. Bowling involves hitting A to start your run-up and then swinging your arm "like a windmill" when prompted - although you can just do a chucking motion if you prefer, as the umpire seems to be asleep. Unfortunately there's no sledging option, but since you can always lean over and shout "mind the windows" at your Mum in real life we can live with that.
Not the most elaborate interpretation of the sport, then, but a very approachable one that nobody will struggle to pick up. Judging by the demos we saw of the other sports, this has been HB Studios' tactic for everything, and given some of the execrable nonsense that rides high in the Wii charts at the moment, that's probably not a bad thing.
It's also very lush and colourful, with a touch of Animal Crossing about it - in particular the character designs. You can personalise your little boys, girls and monkey type avatars by exporting them to DS, according to a Powerpoint presentation stuffed onto our press disk, but there's no word on Mii support. All in all, surprisingly not hateful for a Wii Sports clone, and you might want to tuck into the trailer on Eurogamer TV to measure the mildness of your own enthusiasm.