Considering how well Deca Sports sold, it looks like Deca Sports 2 is about to sell like hotcakes once it is released later this month. It's been awhile since we've seen the game, so we stopped by the Hudson booth at the 2009 Penny Arcade Expo to get some hands-on time with the new additions. The variety of sporting events is what stood out, and even though the gameplay is incredibly simple, there's plenty of fun to be had. Who doesn't like synchronized swimming?
What's New: All 10 sports were playable, so we got a chance to check out petanque, dodgeball, kendo, and synchronized swimming. Petanque is like bocce ball where your first ball acts as a target and you take turns tossing balls to see who can get the closest. Knocking your opponent's balls out of the way is fair game, so you'll have to be competitive if you want to win. To toss, all you have to do is hold the B button and swing the remote. It takes a few practice swings to gauge how hard you're throwing. With no Wii MotionPlus, though, the accuracy is questionable.
In dodgeball, you control a team of players who move at the same time with the analog stick. The goal is to hit the opposing members of the team with the hope that they don't catch the ball; if so, you lose a player. You pass with the A button and throw by swinging the remote. By timing things correctly, you can catch balls by pressing the Z and B button at the same time.
Kendo is simple and can be over really fast if your partner isn't paying any attention--which we've learned. All you have to do is get one hit in to win a round. To hit, you swing the remote, and to block, you press the B button. You can use the D pad to move close or back away.
Synchronized swimming is essentially a rhythm game in which you swing the remote in synch with the pink circles that shrink and meet up with the yellow circle around your character. An arrow will appear to indicate you need to swing in a particular direction, but for the most part, you're swinging downward to the music. In our demo, we did an inspiring duet to the "Ride of the Valkyries." It's actually difficult to see what your character is doing because you're so focused on getting the timing right, but we're pretty sure we looked good.
What's Different: All 10 sports were available this time, and Hudson also announced that tennis, hockey, and dodgeball can be played online with a friend. We didn't get to test them out, but you are also able to customize your teams.
What's the Same: Visually, the game hasn't changed. We didn't revisit the games we've played already, but it's clear that Deca Sports 2 is shaping up to be a collection of simplistic minigames that are meant to be played with the family.
What Impression the Game Made This Time: It doesn't look like Hudson is going to veer too far from its basic gameplay formula. We enjoyed most of the sports that we've played, but there are going to be a few that will get old quickly. Deca Sports 2 is going to have some tough competition with Wii Sports Resort, but at least you don't need to buy any extra peripherals to play it. Look for the game when it is released September 29.