101 in 1 Sports Megamix
Developer: Nordcurrent
Publisher: Nordcurrent
Release Date: Out Now
Players: 1-2 via multi-card wireless
Words By:

101 sports games on one Game Card – what could be more exciting? Well… Most things actually. 101 might be a slightly misleading claim as many of the games share the same game engine and virtually identical gameplay, so if you’re hoping for something akin to US Gold’s old Summer/Winter games that got so many people hooked on games all those years ago you’re probably going to be disappointed.

I should probably go to the trouble of listing all the games first, as it’s unlikely you’ll see the full roster anywhere else on the planet, and it’ll fool our stupid editor into thinking the review is longer:

Volleyball, Bowling, Boxing, Tennis, Horse Riding, Darts, Clay Pigeon Shooting, Javelin, Swimming, Hammer Toss, Noodling (no, really! It’s catching fishing bear handed,) Pool, Table Tennis, Mini Golf, Polo, Frisbee, Curling, Basketball, Badminton, Rally, Tug of War, Speed Skating, Track Cycling, Mountain Bike, Rowing, Cross Country Skiing, Biathlon, Duathlon, Running, Arm Wrestling, Fencing, Weightlifting, Windsurfing, Alpine Skiing, Ski Jumping, Acrobatic Diving, Gymnastics – Hoop, Gymnastics – Ball, Gymnastics - Clubs, Bobsled, Water Skiing, Drifting, Skeleton, Archery, Rifle Shooting, Parachuting, Zorbing (that’s rolling down a hill in a giant ball,) Pole Vault, Sumo, Baseball, Trampoline, Climbing, Gorodki (Russian skittles,) Synchronized Diving, Hang Gliding, Board Breaking, Caber Toss, Sailing, Paintball, Pro Wrestling, Calf Roping, Kendo, Kick Boxing, Judo, Motocross, Fishing, Aizkolaritza (log chopping,) Croquet, Aerial Acrobatics, Rodeo, Pato Table (a.k.a. table football or Foosball,) Skateboarding, Capoeira, Olympic Handball, Water Polo, Rugby, Wakeboarding, Super Car Race, Air Balloon, Rope Jumping, Surfing, Kayaking, Drag Racing, Bocce Ball (a bit like bowls,) US Football, Ice Hockey, Dodgeball, Air Hockey, Crab Fishing, Soccer, Lumberjack Pole Climbing, Long Jump, Stock Car Racing, Axe Throwing, Wingsuit Flying, Jetski Race, Traction Kiting, Free Diving, Street Luge, Korfball Warm Up (it’s like Netball,) Volleyb… Ahh, that’s the lot, I did a full lap. 101—count ‘em, there really are 101. But is such quantity necessarily a good thing?

Whenever you play a game you’ll earn credits with which you can unlock new games, meaning that even if you can’t get a high enough score to get a tick that signifies that the game has been completed you’ll keep amassing a credit balance so you can unlock any game you fancy the look of.

As I mentioned, many games use similar or even identical graphics and the game mechanics are often the same. Some use the DS the normal way up and some require it to rotated through 90°, book style. All games use the stylus for control but some (the racing games mostly) give the alternative to use the D-pad or the L and R shoulder buttons for steering.

Unfortunately although I’d love to tell you that each and every one of the 101 games are great, some suffer from unresponsive, sluggish controls (Gorodki) and some seem completely broken (the Ski Jumping, which required the ninja gaming skillz of our my fellow Gamecellist Hario to complete because I was in danger of seeing how far I could make the DS fly, and was also concerned that I may wear a groove in the touch screen with SO many miserably failed attempts.) With some of the games, despite what are simplistic control systems for simple games the in-game instructions don’t help, and can often be misleading, for instance; the Sumo tells you to “drag your wrestler” when you in fact need to “tickle his arse with a rapid scribbling action” to have any chance of victory. There are some games that use a rhythm action-type interface or require you to remember a sequence (Lumberjack and Rope Jumping,) and these are fun but the ones that use gentle physics like the Curling and Croquet, or games that have responsive controls and attractive visuals (like the Aerial Acrobatics and the Air Balloon Race) were my favourites and a pleasure to play. These few "diamonds in the rough" will probably draw you back for more than one go, but much of this collection is extremely easy or completely inane, unrecognisable in any way as a real sport and will only ever be played once, while others (like the Sumo and the Ski Jumping) are purely annoying obstacles in the quest to complete the lot.

Apparently a lot of the games have a multi-card 2-player option, so you could possibly enjoy this game together with your friends, we wouldn’t know as no one else in the area is playing it.

I guess how you rate this game is a classic matter of how you value quantity versus quality. It was obvious that some of the 101 were going to be stinkers, and none of them were going to push the DS’s graphics chip to the limit, but I was still disappointed with the overall quality of some of them. Having said all that, the collection was addictive enough to make me want to complete them all to the required standard, so that must say something, but possibly more about me than the games themselves.

Best Bits

- Well, there’s 101 sports games to try
- Simple but addictive
- Some hidden goodies
Worst Bits

- Many of the games are similar
- And you'll only play them once
- Few are “sporty”
- Some dodgy controls
- Uneven difficulty
- Vague and inaccurate instructions

by: 'Big Tony' Bolognese

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