Summer is officially over in the UK. The nights are drawing in and the weather is changing. Most of us love to try and hold on to the summer as long as possible, but if you’re like me you yearn for cosiness, get together’s with your dearest and maybe a little couch play on the sofa with friends and family members alike. Games with a competitive edge are a conversation starter or an ice breaker, and they produce some wonderful memorable moments. Memories that you hold on to and look to recreate time and time again. Sharing gaming with friends and family is pure gaming gold and should always be cherished.
Smoots Summer Games is a game based around athletic events. Athletic games use to be all the rage and have provided some classic gaming memories of yesteryear from Daily Thompson’s Decathlon to Track and Field…. The ultimate button masher.
Fast forward a few years, and you think of Olympic Gold on the Sega Mega Drive, but since then other than Olympic event game tie in’s and Sonic & Mario games based on the same thing, the whole Summer games challenge thing has gone cold, until now.
Where’s Olympic style games tend to focus on the format and realism of athletic events, Smoots Summer Games take’s the fantasy, cartoon and dare is say it on an Xbox website, Nintendo Wii friendly style approach, it truly is accessible for all age’s, with just the same amount of competitive edge as the more so called grown up approach.
I for one don’t pay too much attention to a game’s graphical design or target audience, if the game has merit when it comes to gameplay and has a flexible pick and play style then I’m in, and so should you be.
Game Developer’s JanduSoft bring their game Smoots Summer Games to the world of Xbox, and we should all be grateful for their direction. Years ago, when the original Xbox launched, the gaming catalogue and audience was very narrow. Xbox back then was all about the serious gamer, the adult gamer. Family style games were very few and far between.
Today we should count ourselves lucky, in that we have such a huge diverse catalogue of games available to us, a game for every moment and experience.
JanduSoft have taken the family style approach to a classic athletics sports collection game. Smoot’s Summer Games is a game where you can participate in athletic events and competition without having to leave your sofa. JanduSoft deliver an arcade sports game where 1-4 players locally can challenge each other across 18 athletic disciplines.
With a whole host of adorable Smoot Character’s to choose from and a shed load of nation’s to represent, take command of your new lovable avatar and practice event’s such as the 100m dash to your hearts content, and when your ready unleash your character against your fellow competitors, be that AI controlled or friends and family members.
Smoot’s Summer Games is a perfect example of a couch play game title, featuring two competitive game mode’s, that being Championship, and Special Challenge.
Championship mode is your typical athletics competition events, comprising of three set out main competitions. In these event’s you compete for points which you complete for gold, silver and bronze. Pentathlon (5 events), Heptathlon (7 events), and Decathlon (10 events). The goal is the same in these differently named collection of events, Gold, Silver or Bronze.
For every event you take part in, you will be awarded a set number of points based on where you finish in said event. The points are tallied and after all the events have finished a winner is announced.
Special Challenge Is an arcade style mode. Picture yourself at the arcades and in order to progress to the next event you have to achieve the set time or distance…. that’s pretty much it. Fail and its game over.
Special Challenge features progressive difficulty, with Bronze, Silver and Gold Challenges, and yeap you’ve guessed it Gold Special Challenge is a damn sight harder inn difficulty then the Bronze Challenge.
Smoots Summer Challenge features the following events, and I thought it would be only fair to share the full list below.
- Long jump
- Triple jump
- High jump
- Shot put
- Hammer throw
- Pole vault
- Discus throw
Smoots Summer Games delivers on it’s practices and aims. The game is totally accessible to players of all ages and the games design and structure is excellently crafted and formed. Graphically it’s open and friendly, the characters are lovable and cute in their own distinctive way. The events themselves are full of vibrant colour and simplistic design whilst sticking to the core athletic disciplines you would come to expect with the individual aspects of each event.
Controls are easy to get the hang of, no complicated button combinations, just pure button mashing, and coordinated actions. Whilst timing is key, so is setting the right angle when it comes to the throwing and jumping events, but literally anyone can pick up and play this game and have a bit of fun.
However, the game is badly let down by a number of characteristics, the mechanics of the game is a little bit off, with random power drop offs which are inconsistent to your button pressing. Lots of the events have stamina system which is very much apparent and surprising too, as there is no evidence in terms of a meter bar to suggest there is one, but I can assure you it’s there.
There’s also a distinct lack of atmosphere to the game in terms of crowd reactions, which are pretty much static, add to that no world record leaderboards and no online multiplayer, and your left feeling a little disappointed.
Smoots Summer Games has so much potential, but overall fall’s short and doesn’t quite make the Olympic final. That’s not to say there isn’t a competitor here. Smoots Summer Games can be a lot of fun with a group of friends, it just doesn’t make the grade overall.
- Game modes
- Couch play
- Lacks atmosphere
- Inconsistent game mechanics
- No online or world record leaderboards