We don’t get out much, so it’s always a pleasure to pretend that we’re ridiculously athletic people who can complete feats of Herculean strength. Summer Athletics scratches this itch without betraying, too fiercely, its lack of an Olympic licence, with the same list of events, the same huge crowds, and a terrifying midget/chimpanzee mascot that does handstands while you compete.
While we couldn’t get the 360 pad to work under Vista, Summer Athletics works well on the keyboard. Gameplay is a combination of Track & Field key-tapping and precise button pressing with events like the triple jump, discus and 1,000m biking requiring a little more patience than the faster 100m and relay events. Most of them are fun, either in single-player or with people huddled around the screen, apart from the biking events that are a confusing balance of keeping speed and stamina.
Getting gold medals is rewarding enough for those looking for a bit of self-affirmation, and the easier settings are the right level of challenge for more casual gamers. Summer Athletics is definitely fun, but it’s about as deep as a puddle – even with the career mode, which is the normal events plus a bizarre statistics system. Regardless, anyone can step in and have a good time with it, and for that it deserves a bit of respect.
Sep 2, 2008