22 June 2024

The inspiring success of Golf Story materialized largely because of word of mouth from Nintendo’s handheld platform players that sees now a new adventure in its world. This title is wrapped in charm reminiscent of the Super Nintendo era with its peculiar pixels. Its successor drinks from the same source, Sports Story promises to bring different modalities separated by hours of fun, set in a goofy story, and always with the main point in golf swings.

The story of Sport Story, not being a direct continuation, presents itself as a new page of already known characters. Arriving on an island tanned by sports and in the company of his golf coach and friends, the fun starts right away by exploring the surroundings of the beach. Swapping the much-acclaimed swords of an action RPG for sports-related elements, such as golf clubs, baseball, BMX, among others, the player will have at his disposal a resort full of athletes who will help him learn these new sports.

Not everything will be so happy, as there is an evil force at work in the shadows. A whole kind of sports mafia à la Yakuza style, called “Iron Dragons”, which promotes negative waves in the direction of the main character, by buying golf courses, which prevent the free passage of anyone, threatening inhabitants, among others. The player’s mission thus changes from learning the new mechanics related to the new sports to an investigative action in order to help the inhabitants affected by the gang. Somehow the problem is related to the repetitive premise that turns the player into the errand boy, in a mad rush in an attempt to reach the conclusion of the mission. No indications are given on how to carry out the mission, only what is expected at the end. That gave me some problems and promoted a few lost hours in search of what I had no idea what it was. There is a certain disconnection of ideas or, for lack of a better term, “help”, to make the adventure smoother.

The brilliance of the lines of text makes the personality of each character completely transparent, it goes against a story that unfolds without much sense, but I guess that is really its objective. The tone of each sentence is enhanced with text boxes that move, the shape and size also change, emphasizing the disposition of the character at that particular moment. In a way this point had me rocking back and forth on the sofa while playing on my television, as the sudden change of lines of text is so big that it was difficult for me to read some pieces of text. But maybe that’s just me who wears glasses. Even so, it was impossible for me to create any special connection with any of the characters, many of them even became a little boring, for just being there, without giving any kind of useful information. And yes, it is not possible to click a button to skip lines of text.

Although Sports Story introduces new sports mechanics, its general structure makes the game loop quite boring, and the more you play the more repetitions of events and missions. At the end of each chapter, it is possible to play a complete round of golf, and without detracting from all the other sports included here, golf is where the game really shines. Although without great depth, with the simple detail of clicking three times on the button to start the move, the first to align the shot, the second regarding the power of the shot and the third the same, makes your gameplay simple, interesting and at certain times challenging due to weather conditions. This is unfortunately due to its performance… For several moments with a small drop in frames made it impossible for me to press the button at the right moment, causing the golf ball to fly across the green.

The inclusion of new golf balls, with different abilities, makes things a little bit more fun. These balls can be bought or found. The skills range from balls that automatically jump to the spot where the hole is right after hitting the ground, to balls that bounce in water. In this sense, it is also interesting to combine the specific ball with specific locations or biomes.

Sports Story isn’t necessarily a bad game… It’s just boring. Although the lines of text make for a good laugh and the graphic look is sublime, the super boring missions where you have to run from one place to another, and occasional frame rate problems, make the whole experience somewhat confusing. There are indeed fun moments and in that sense, it is possible to leave a recommendation to players who had fun with its predecessor. Anyway, there’s also room for new players who, like me, after playing this title, might want to take a look at its much-acclaimed Golf Story.

[This review is based on a retail build of the game for PC provided by SideBar]