Deca Sports DS Hands-On

The budding sports franchise from Hudson heads toward the DS with 10 new sporting events to compete in.

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The Deca Sports brand is growing quickly, and it's going to be heading to the Nintendo DS with 10 all-new events. For a small publisher, selling more than a million copies means a lot to Hudson, so now that Deca Sports 2 has hit stores, it's time to bring Deca Sports DS to an even wider audience. At Hudson's press event in San Francisco, we had the opportunity to play the game and try out several of its new sports, including arm wrestling, wall climbing, and Ping-Pong. Like the previous games, Deca Sports DS aims to keep the gameplay mechanics simple and easy to play.

Skydiving is much safer on the DS.
Skydiving is much safer on the DS.

A wide variety of events are included in Deca Sports DS. On top of the games that we've already mentioned, there are clay shooting, cheerleading, skydiving, bobsledding, rugby, golf, and sepak takraw, a sport that is popular in Southeast Asia and that's similar to volleyball except you can use your feet. Like in the Wii games, you can create your own team with the team editor and pick the name, colors, and emblem for your team. In single-player mode, you can play any of the 10 events in an open match, participate in a one-sport bracket-style tournament, complete minigame challenges, or compete in all 10 sports to see if your team can come out on top. What's nice is that there is a multiplayer component that requires only one cartridge, so you and a friend can compete against one another in the game's various modes.

The first sport we decided to tackle was arm wrestling, because we were curious to see how it would work on the DS. It doesn't take much strength, but it does take a bit of finesse, quick reflexes, and stamina for you to swipe the stylus back and forth on the touch screen as fast as you can. Arm wrestling is a two part game, so if you haven't lost by now, you'll switch to another minigame in which you need to tap the screen when your meter is higher than your opponent's meter, but before it fills up the bar. Deca Sports is easy to pick up, but it does take a bit of trial and error to get a handle on the controls and adjust accordingly so that you don't lose every match. We never actually won an arm wrestling match, so we decided to try wall climbing instead.

The controls are much easier for wall climbing, because all you have to do is tap the left or right side of the screen to get your character to climb. By looking at the grips on the wall, it's obvious which hand you need to move, but you're also racing against the computer, so you need to do this as quickly as possible. Ping-Pong was the next sport we tried, and it was fun once we got the timing down. To serve, you swipe up with the stylus and then slide your stylus from the left to the right to swing.

Also much safer on the DS if you want to avoid getting kicked in the face.
Also much safer on the DS if you want to avoid getting kicked in the face.

Deca Sports DS is designed to be basic and accessible to anyone, so if you're looking for a sports compilation to play or give to a friend, look for the game when it is released next spring.

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