The original Summer Athletics, released last year, featured a paltry seven sports and failed to appeal to either sports fans or mainstream gamers suffering from the traditional summer software slump.
This effort boasts a new developer, publisher, an improved quota of events and the now obligatory Balance Board compatibility. So was it worth the wait?
At first glance, the answer is yes. Summer Athletics 09 may not feature any more sports but, with 28 events in total, there's still plenty to get your teeth into. There's also a new Berlin World Cup mode, neatly timed to coincide with the World Athletics Championships, where you can compete for your chosen national team in 15 track and field events, albeit without the star names like Usain Bolt who have done so much to revitalise interest in the sport.
The seven disciplines covered are running, jumping, throwing, archery, swimming, diving and skeet shooting – a bizarre selection but still making for a reasonable variety of techniques to please all types. And there are several events in each category – so for Running you get distances from 100-1500 metres, plus hurdles and a 4x100 relay event for multiplayers. If you're using standard Wiimotes, sprinting events tend to involve bashing them down as fast as possible while throws, jumps and swims require a combination of button presses and circular motions in time with onscreen icons.
Silliest combo of all involves the relay, where you have to follow a random combo of direction key presses as you approach changeovers, although it's probably the only system that might get Team GB a relay medal this time next week. There's also plenty of cups to try for including a Decathlon, Short and Long competitions, one for four players competing in running, cycling or swimming and a Balance Board Cup that focuses on archery, triple jump, hammer, diving and high jump. Here it's a matter of wiggling your hips for the hammer and maintaining even balance before leaning to compensate for wind direction in archery. Whatever the event, however, I still managed to top the Berlin leaderboard despite failing to qualify for nearly half the events on the second hardest setting.
With its cartoon style, annoying monkey mascot, hit and miss controls and unrealistic scoring, no one could call Summer Athletics 2009 a serious sports sim. However, if you can live with the limitations, it looks great and there's both variety and exercise to be had – which is more than the
Release: Sep 30, 2009 (US) »
CPU: Pentium 1,4Ghz
Video: 100% Directx 9.0c-compatible 3D Graphics Card with 256Mb Video Ram.
Sound Card: Directx 9.0 compatible