Even with the multitude of different sports available in Deca Sports Extreme, none will keep you playing for very long.
- A few of the sports incorporate 3D well.
- Some really uninteresting sport choices
- Weak controls that are made even more problematic with bad camera options
- Questionable AI
- Lacks depth.
The latest entry in the long line of minigame compilations is Deca Sports Extreme, a collection of 10 different sporting activities, ranging from the truly "extreme" trampoline, to the "craziness" of bowling, with a few others thrown into the fray. While there are many sporting events to participate in, none of them are deep or memorable, making this a sports mix that should be avoided at all costs.
Though each controls differently, all 10 events are fairly bare-bones activities. The trampoline has you time button presses while in the air for points, and sport blowdarts has you use the unit's gyroscope to aim and blow into the 3DS's microphone to shoot a dart. Then there is ice hockey, which has you using the touch screen to pass and shoot instead of using standard buttons. The problem is that the difference between passing and shooting is so slight that it's much too easy to perform one action when you want to perform the other.
The control issue that plagues ice hockey is just one of the many problems with Deca Sports Extreme. The gyroscope used in sport blowdarts is extremely finicky, and the button mashing incorporated in sumo wrestling is poorly implemented. Even racing in a snowmobile is problematic because of the loose controls and poor handling. Because it uses only the touch screen, bowling is the only game that isn't hampered by the controls. Outside of that, only a few events have alternative control setups, and none offer the ability to customize the controls to your preference, which is especially problematic for left-handed players.
The main mode featured in Deca Sports Extreme is Championship mode. Here, you create a team and face off against 29 other teams as you attempt to go from being ranked 30 to being number one. Each battle is the same, and there are three events. Your opposition selects one event, you select the second, and a third sport is randomly selected and acts as the tiebreaker. The team that wins two of the three events is proclaimed the winner, and if your team wins, you're one step closer to reaching elite status.
This might be somewhat interesting if the game weren't already riddled with control problems. The AI makes playing some sports a chore. Every sport has you selecting at least two members from your team. In every one of them, regardless of the AI skill, your partner is never reliable, and you have to make up for his or her faults. An example of this foolish AI is in the game snowball fight. Here, you and your teammate need to grab a flaglike pole in the middle of the pitch and bring it back to your end. The team that reaches 100 first wins. It may seem simple to have one person grab the pole while the other pelts the opposition with snowballs as cover, but in execution, the aim is comical, and your partner fails to perform logical actions. There are times when the AI partner is beside an opponent and still manages to miss on a throw.
Although Championship is the main mode of play, there are two other modes available. If you want to play one particular sport, you can play either a single match or a tournament against the AI or friends. Neither mode stands out, but each gives you the opportunity to play the events first to get a grasp of what is required. Multiplayer can be played either locally or incorporating the 3DS download play option.
Deca Sports Extreme uses 3D with varying results. Tennis and blowdarts use 3D favorably, thanks in part to their use of depth of field, but the team-based sports like hockey and basketball are a mess. Not only do they look bad, but they also suffer from a camera that has a hard time tracking the action, and in many situations, your characters are positioned in such a way that you don't get the best view of the action. In basketball, for example, it can be difficult at times to see what's going on, and the game slows down to a crawl because too much is happening at once.
Deca Sports Extreme feels sloppy and fails to bring anything interesting to the experience. In spite of the variety of sports included, few are engaging enough to play multiple times, and you'll avoid most of them after trying them out once. Even if you are desperate for something to play on your 3DS, Deca Sports Extreme should not be considered an option.