With Wii Sports doing so well to show off what the Wii could do, it was only natural to expect Nintendo to come up with a sequel for the launch of the Wii U. They didn’t, instead choosing to focus on Nintendo Land to do the same thing, so Ubisoft stepped in with a sports game of their own.
Sports Connection seems very familiar at first, despite the introduction of Nintendo’s Gamepad screen. There are a wide range of games on offer from Tennis to Golf and even Kart Racing, but it isn’t long before you realise that something important is missing.
For a start, your Mii is nowhere to be found, replaced by a generic slightly alterable character to represent you. It’s not a huge omission, but it means that the game lacks the personal touch of Nintendo’s Sports series. Secondly, the games feel as if they’ve had most of the joy sucked out of them. They work but there is just something missing, some element lacking in the presentation and the gameplay which would have made them easier to appeal to a family.
On to the games themselves, of which there are 6. Tennis and Golf are passable, with Tennis boasting some of the better controls in the pack, particularly the swipe functions using the Gamepad (you have the option to use this or the standard Wii Remote). Golf is as you’d imagine; a Wii Remote controlled game which lets you line up a shot, practice your swing and then take the shot for real. It’s a no-nonsense approach to the sport which cuts out a lot of the fuss and allows anyone to play.
Baseball, though, is a bit of a faff and involves catching the ball with your Gamepad being used as a glove. The issue with this is that it’s just not fast enough or easy enough to do. (American) Football and Soccer are pretty bad, control-wise, too. Which leaves Karting, which is fun with a group of friends in split screen, but ultimately a shallow experience when compared to a stand alone Kart racer. Still, the fact that Karting is in this pack at all is a bonus and the controls are well implemented, if a little basic.
The graphics throughout are basic and sometimes a tad glitchy, too. They’re not the worst I’ve seen but certainly not fitting for something as powerful as the Wii U. Everything is brightly coloured in that ‘I want to appeal to a family audience’ sort of way, which is fine in itself, but it also seems to be skimping on detail at the same time and becomes a little too simplistic for its own good. Weighing it up against the sort of game Sports Connection wants to be, though, they do serve their purpose and I can’t levy too much blame on the developers to focusing on their core audience.
With Wii Sports and Wii Sports Resort still working perfectly fine on the Wii U through Wii Emulation, there really isn’t the need for another sports compilation that can’t offer anything new and Sports Connection doesn’t try hard enough to even get close to these last-gen games. Perhaps with a little more use for the Gamepad or more time spent on the game it may have been a contender. At best, though, Sports Connection is runner up.