Olympic fever was most definitely in the air this summer and the smell reached the noses of every developer with a taste for track and field events. Not wanting to miss a slice of the action, Codemonkeys spotted their niche and dove straight in at the deep end. International Athletics is the only realistic (rather than cartoony) Olympic-inspired title on the DS and claims to be the first athletics game for the PSP. With 14 events at five different venues, the game provides a decent selection of track, throwing and shooting activities. Without having the ability to incorporate motion of touch-based controls, each of them are simple to participate in, with button mashing responsibilities designated to the L and R shoulder buttons.
However, problems creep in with events that require accuracy rather than all-out thrumming. Due to the lack of precision with the character animations, events such as the high jump, long jump and pole vault can be frustrating to time correctly. It is immensely annoying to be given a foul when the replay shows you a clear foot before the jump board or arching perfectly over a high jump bar. International Athletics is a competent enough collection of minigames, but it’s unlikely that you’ll keep playing after the Olympic spirit has faded.
Sept 9, 2008