A fun and accessible pool sim, Hustle Kings uses tilts of the Move controller to aim a shot, and forward thrusts of the hand-set to control shot power. Shooting is satisfyingly tactile and accurate. We felt like Move perfectly translated the power we were going for every time. Though given the fact that the game can easily be played with a standard controller, with analogue flicks doing the aiming and stick pushing honours, we couldn’t help wondering how much Move actually added to the game. Particularly as fine-tuning shot angles could be a little fiddly with motion control unless using a button modifier for slow aiming.
This is where Move’s accuracy really blew us away. Yes, it’s another sports mini-game collection, but the control finesse on show puts Sports Champions in such a different league to Wii Sports that Nintendo’s game feels like a primary school field day by comparison.
Play the table tennis mode and you’ll stop in between every service to twist your controller around and marvel as your on-screen bat follows every undulation exactly. And although using slightly exaggerated video game physics, the ball reactions follow suit, allowing you to start accurately placing shots anywhere on the table within minutes.
Similarly, the Frisbee-throwing disc golf event allows total control over the angle, direction and power of throws, with its air-resistance model making it one of the most realistic sports sims we’ve ever played. It might be a mini-game collection, but as afar as proving the hardware goes, Sports Champions is a revelation.
An on-rails lightgun shooter that sees you blasting cardboard cut-out bad guys on a film set for the pleasure of a portly film director. The shooting accuracy is spot-on and the 2D characters are as visually-appealing as they are a neat way of getting around an M-rating, but on the whole, the game itself is a bit grim. We found little in the way of challenge or engaging pacing (the meat and potatoes of on-rails games), and being forced to spin on the spot in order to engage a bullet-time power-up made us cry a little bit inside.
The genero-aspirational title screams ‘Keep away!’ warnings like a medieval leper. And it’s right to. We’ve only played through a couple of TV Superstars’ TV-show-themed minigames, but we’ve already had enough for a lifetime. Whereas Sports Champions has enough genuine depth and hardcore finesse to keep us coming back for more, the parts of TV Superstars we’ve played evoked nothing more than the worst kind of mindless waggle-pap that comes to mind when one thinks of the Wii.
Playing a Gladiators-style game show, we found ourselves on a treadmill jumping over intermittent obstacles. We also found ourselves doing nothing more than pumping our arm up and down while jabbing an intermittent button. Nearly as bad was the fashion show catwalk game, which involved simply tracing on-screen shapes to the rhythm of the music. Like Guitar Hero for the mentally unfortunate.
There is amusement to be had in the avatar creation tool, which seamlessly maps photographs of your own face onto the in-game characters, but given the three expression limit, the results are as soul-chillingly horrific as they are funny.
Now this is more like it. Tumble is a physics-driven block stacking puzzler. At first it looks like basic Wii shovelware, but thanks to the deadly accuracy of Move and the game’s pin-sharp physics model, it’s actually a deep and involving hardcore challenge. Whether you’re stacking blocks of different weights and properties to a required height, loading as many incongruously-shaped objects as possible onto an unfeasibly small tray, or tactically placing mines onto a pre-built stack to score maximum destruction, Tumble never feels lightweight or throwaway. The slightest shake or heavy-handed placement will be picked up, making Tumble as nerve-wracking and rewarding as any real-world game of Jenga. Only Jenga doesn’t have explosives.
Next: Our overall verdict. Which might surprise you