You might have noticed that this review looks slightly different to other reviews on VideoGamer.com. That's because we look at games clearly designed for younger gamers in a slightly different way to other games. We'll endeavour to tell you just what you need to know in a clear and concise way so you'll be confident it's the right purchase for whatever your situation.
What is it?
With summer now upon us THQ has released a compendium of beach sports. Big Beach Sports aims to make football, American football, cricket, boules, volleyball and golf (Frisbee style) accessible to everyone. With quick play, tournaments and the ability to customise your character using a connected DS, it is attempting to offer the same kind of four-player fun that Nintendo's own Wii Sports delivers to all Wii owners.
Big Beach Sports is played entirely using the Wii Remote. The seemingly more complicated games of football and American football are made easier by the console taking over all player movement. You just have to press buttons and make gestures with the Wii remote. Shooting in football is a simple case of flicking the remote, whereas throwing in American football is just a simple flick forwards with the remote.
Boules and Cricket are the two most fun game types. Boules plays similarly to the bowling in Wii Sports, with a basic direction selected using the d-pad and your throw being an underarm swing of the remote. It's simple enough for people of any age to play and the addition of curve by twisting your remote adds a subtle amount of depth. Cricket is split in two, with players able to bat and bowl. Batting is a simple case of swinging your remote to hit the ball (ideally for six) and bowling requires players to perform an over-arm bowling gesture to mimic a real delivery.
Frisbee golf and volleyball are about on par with football and American football. Volleyball requires you to tap the ball in the air a few times by swinging the remote upwards, before smashing it with a forward swing. Frisbee golf uses the traditional side-on throwing stance, with a target at the end of each hole needing to be hit in a set number of throws.
The sports on offer vary in suitability, with the inclusion of American football being the strangest choice for the UK audience. The rest of the sports should be familiar to most kids and the simple approach is ideal for gamers aged 10 or under. Something pretty unique to the game is the ability to wirelessly link up a DS, which is then used to paint the face of your custom character. Although quite basic this is a neat idea which should go down well with kids.
Big Beach Sports isn't the most ambitious Wii game we've seen. Characters are basic looking and the environments are fairly crude in appearance. Everything looks bright and colourful though, and each event is being watched by a group of dancing fans. Although the music might rub some people up the wrong way it's undoubtedly cheery and fits well with the summer-time feel.
Anything for adults?
Some games are definitely designed for a young audience and Big Beach Sports is definitely one of them. Adults will find boules to be the most entertaining, with many of the other sports being too simple. It's a game in which kids can compete with adults at an even level.
When the Wii already has Wii Sports and EA's EA Playground for younger gamers, Big Beach Sports will have a hard time getting a look in. Had all the games been as enjoyable as boules and cricket then it would have been easier to recommend. As it is Big Beach Sports will provide some fairly limited, short term fun, but when available for less than £20 maybe that's not such a bad thing.