IGN Review of Winter Sports 2: The Next Challenge
By now DS owners are used to mediocre sports compilations finding their way onto Nintendo's little system. Unfortunately Winter Sports 2 from Conspiracy Entertainment and 49Games does nothing to buck that trend. In the game you can participate in seven different sports taken from the winter Olympics. The controls are functional, but the gameplay is boring and the events lack any sort of depth, which in the end makes for an overall throw-away experience.
There are seven sports in all, Alpine Skiing, Speed Skating, Skeleton, Figure Skating, Ski Jumping, Bobsledding, and Curling. These disciplines make for a total of nine events - one for each sport, with the exception of Alpine Skiing, which has three. The events usually last somewhere around a minute and a half, and each time you select a discipline, you repeat it two times. Right off the bat you can choose to do a single event to try for the best score or fastest time, compete in a tournament made up of several different sports alone or with friends, or play the campaign which will have you completing specific tasks based around each discipline.
The entire game is controlled using the touch screen, no buttons are involved whatsoever. In each event, there is usually a quick motion that must be done to get started, like tapping the screen at just the right time to launch your character out of the gate in Skiing, or running the stylus back and forth to get the fastest start off the line in Speed Skating and Skeleton Bob. After that you'll have to repeat certain motions to achieve the fastest time or highest score.
In Skeleton Bob and Bobsledding you'll drag the stylus on the bottom screen to turn. The closer you follow the line on the track, the faster your time will be. Unfortunately this isn't the least big engaging. The sleds will finish the race just fine no matter what you do, and doing slight movements over and over to shave a few seconds off the clock is tedious and unexciting. The skiing events use a similar control method, but require much quicker and more precise movements. In all three events the main goal is to maneuver your character through checkpoints as quickly as possible. It requires extremely sharp turns, which means you will be moving the stylus to the far left and right of the screen. It's very easy to go too far, loose hold of the controls, and end up missing checkpoint after checkpoint. You're only allowed to miss five, which will lead to your disqualification time and time again.
In Speed Skating you tap icons on the left and right side of the screen. It's not based on rhythm - you just go back and forth as the icons light up. When your character is making a turn, you'll tap to one side for a bit, and then go back to the repeating left-right-left-right pattern. Not much to keep you entertained. Ski jumping is similarly simple. You'll tilt a half moon shape object on the lower screen to keep a ball in the center. Tap the ball when you jump, an again when you land. Nothing to it.
Curling works almost like a slow motion bowling game. You'll aim your stone and whip up on a meter to try to give it just the right amount of push. While it's on the way to the target, you can sweep the ice in front to keep its speed up and try to guide the shot a little more. But you never really know how much strength to put behind the stone, or how much sweeping to do, so it all seems somewhat random. If you've ever experienced a Curling match, you'll know that it's one of the slowest and most boring sports on earth, and it's no different here.
Figure Skating is probably the most unique event. As your skater does her routine on the top screen, still images of skaters appear on the bottom, with curving lines roughly resembling their body shape overlaid. You have to trace those lines with the stylus as quickly and accurately as possible. The problem is that there is so much time between these interactions. Most of the time you'll be sitting there watching the skater on the top screen, waiting for an image to show up so you can finally get to do something. In a performance that lasts a little over a minute and a half, you'll trace about seven shapes. Like all the events, it's exactly the same every time.
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