Fox Sports Track & Field '04 is a fun game overall, it's just not a particularly ambitious one.
At this point in the history of video gaming, everything short of Jai Alai has made its way to the digital arena--though track and field events have always been a redheadeded stepchild to the Madden Footballs of the world. Mobile gaming, of course, offers a whole new set of parameters for developers. Can Sorrent's Fox Sports Track & Field '04 bring Olympic-style action to your phone? The answer depends on what you want from a sports title.
Fox Sports Track & Field '04 offers gameplay that challenges your timing by requiring you to hone your reflexes in the 110 meter hurdles, javelin throw, long jump, and hammer throw. As in many track and field games, each event has the same basic concept, so, basically, you must time your moves just right to succeed.
In the hurdles, you control both your runner's jumps and his start. The key lies in timing short jumps that both clear the hurdle and slow you down while in the air. This is in addition to getting a good start off the line, of course. The javelin throw requires you to hold down your D pad to begin your throw, and then you must release it to send the javelin sailing. While holding the button down, your power meter slides from yellow, to green, to red, and then back again. Releasing your shot while it is in the green gives you the best distance. The long jump similarly asks you to send your athlete down the running lane by holding the right arrow. You then jump by holding the up arrow, and you release the up arrow to guide your landing. The hammer throw is an amalgamation of the long jump and javelin events. Timing is the watchword here--straight across the board.
To increase the game's depth, Fox Sports Track & Field '04 offers several options. There are two difficulty settings to test your acumen, an online leaderboard, a practice feature, and a pass-the-phone tourney option for head-to-head play. This is a reasonable array of modes and challenges, but even taken as a whole, the game lacks replay value. While mobile gaming tends to aim for an experience that takes up a few minutes, at most, this game's primary problem is that after a minimal investment of time, you may find that you've mastered each event. After a few games, the basic mechanics of the events become easier and easier--almost too easy. Increasing the difficulty seemed to have little effect on the game. In one case (the javelin throw), it made it easier. So, for instance, on the amateur level, there is a single flag used to mark the halfway point on your approach to the throwing line. In the pro version, there are three flags, making it much easier to anticipate when to begin your throw. On the other hand, some challenge can be derived from attempting to beat your own best scores or times. For example, while running the hurdles, a red outline of a runner represents your best time, allowing you to compare your current attempt to it. The throwing and jumping events mark your best attempts. Unfortunately, these options show only the best effort you made during the current session and not your all-time best score.
Fox Sports Track & Field '04 is a fun game overall, it's just not a particularly ambitious one. The graphics are well done, while the sound ranges from the solid (the intro flourish) to the strange (the foul horn, which tends to draw baffled, confused stares from onlookers). The controls are relatively easy, thanks to an onscreen reminder that makes this a very easy game to just pick up and play. However, there simply isn't enough to do for this game to maintain your interest for an extended period of time. If you have enjoyed other track and field games, or if you want something that you can play for a minute here and there, Fox Sports Track & Field '04 will fill your needs nicely. However, if you want a game that you can play for a while, you might find it wearing rather thin.