There are four runners in the race to be DS’s finest Olympics-related game: Mario & Sonic, Asterix at the Olympic Games, New International Track & Field and this, a straight-up sim. There’s a range of events, from the 100m to archery, long jump and discus. Targeting disciplines work well with stylus aiming, but track and field events get bogged down by the controls. Sprinting is simple – you tap touch-screen blobs to keep pace – but hurdling is impossible, as you’ve got to watch the top screen to see the hurdles but follow the touch-screen at the same time. Jumping events require odd button presses to judge angles.
Single- and multi-cart multiplayer adds the edge of trying to beat a friend, but single-cart play is limited. What’s more, angular graphics make the athletes look like they’re made of cheap cardboard. The idea of a novelty-free DS sports sim was great. But if Mario & Sonic is a kickabout in the park, International Athletics is a ten-mile run – they both offer a workout, but we know which is more fun.
Oct 1, 2008