Deca Sports DS fills a void on the DS. The Wii has multiple sports game collections, where you can pop in a game like Deca Sports, Wii Sports or Wii Sports Resort and instantly have access to a variety of events. Now that Deca Sports DS is available, DS owners also have an affordable collection of a wide variety of sports games that can be played alone or with a fairly sizable group of friends.
There are 10 sports included in Deca Sports DS: golf, ping pong, rugby, sepak takraw (it’s sort of like volleyball), sky diving, cheerleading, wall climbing, clay shooting, arm wrestling and bobsled. They each have control schemes set up before you start playing, and when you touch the appropriate icon it will show whether you’ll need to use the face buttons or stylus to play. Golf, ping pong, sky diving, cheerleading, wall climbing, clay shooting and arm wrestling all require you to use the touch screen to play, while rugby, sepak takraw and bobsled use standard face button controls.
Whether or not you’ll enjoy each event is purely subjective and based on personal control preferences. I had the opportunity to play Deca Sports DS with friends and the only event that was unanimously despised was clay shooting. While I personally didn’t like ping pong (mainly because of the control scheme), bobsled and sepak takraw, one of my friends considered ping pong the best event in there and another didn’t mind either bobsled or sepak takraw.
Personally, I wish that there had been an option to use standard controls on some of the touch screen games. For example, shooting in clay shooting can be quite complicated, and that particular sport would have benefited from a touch-screen/standard control scheme hybrid which would allow players to aim with the stylus and perhaps shoot with the L or R button. Also, I’d have liked standard control options for ping pong and maybe even arm wrestling as well.
There are four different play modes in Deca Sports DS, and they’re Open Match, League, Tournament and Challenge. Open Match was my favorite, and allows you to play quick matches, where you can customize settings, of any of the sports at any times. Challenge was a close runner up though, and functions in a similar manner. Only in Challenge you’re striving to achieve certain challenges and earn high scores. League and Tournament are extended play options. In League, you play through all 10 sports in Local, National or Global Leagues, trying to be the best. Tournament is quite similar, except you’re playing one sport in a Local, National or Global Cup.
Deca Sports DS also encourages customization. When you enter the Locker Room, you can create custom teams, view User Info, see tutorials for each sport and use the Team Editor. The User Info lets you see your stats so far in the game. You can see how many skill points you’ve earned for each sport, see what class level you’re at and also see the trophies you’ve earned in the League, Tournament and Challenge modes. The Tutorial section allows you to go back and revisit the step by step tutorials that teach you how to play each sport.
The Team Editor allows you to customize your team. It isn’t all about aesthetics though. While medium sized characters don’t have any particular strengths or weaknesses, large and small characters sometimes excel in certain events. For example, large athletes are better at bobsled and arm wrestling and small athletes are better at wall climbing and cheerleading. As far as appearance, there aren’t a ton of options, but there are enough to make unique and identifiable characters. But, the differences aren’t too defined or visible once you see them during the sporting events. Besides, you’ll be paying more attention to playing than your characters’ looks.
Finally, Deca Sports DS is perfect for multiplayer play. You can play with six friends, and only need one Deca Sports DS cartridge to do so. There’s only local wireless support though. It may take a few minutes to get everyone set up, but once you do everything flows and works together pretty well.
I’d have to say that Deca Sports DS most reminds me of Wii Sports Resort. It isn’t due to the sports included, but more based on the feel. It’s the sort of game that’s best with friends, and also seems to work well in small doses. It’s not that the League and Tournament modes are bad, but it seems like the Open Match and Challenge modes, where you can quickly play a short match or strive for a certain objective, seem to work best.
Food for Thought
- If pressed to rank the sports from most enjoyable to least, I’d have to say my ranking would look something like this: golf, rugby, cheerleading, sky diving, ping pong, wall climbing, arm wrestling, bobsled, sepak takraw and finally clay shooting.
- While some character sizes do have an edge in certain sports, sometimes it isn’t too noticeable. So you can probably get by with any team, if you don’t feel like creating your own.