Game: Instant Sports Paradise
Genre: Sports, Party
System: Nintendo Switch (Also on Xbox and PS4)
Developer|Publisher: Breakfirst S.A.R.L | Plug in Digital
Age Rating: EU 3+ | US Everyone
Price: US $34.99 | UK £31.49 | EU € 34,99
Release Date: September 1st, 2021
Review code provided with many thanks to BreakFirst_Games
Instant Sports Paradise is a 3D mini game compilation with some exploration elements that can be enjoyed alone or with up to 4 players locally. It’s fair to say a lot of us probably need a break from all the stress of the world. That stress comes from glancing loosely at the news, work, school or that darn fox that keeps digging up your garden. Stress is not good. It’s important to set aside time to take a break from it all.
If you’re lucky you can afford to go on holiday. If you’re not so lucky maybe escaping into a video game for an hour or two might be the answer. Instant Sports Paradise whisks you away to an Island to bask in the sun, explore the sights and if you fancy partaking in a few mini games.
As mini-game collections go you have the usual suspects like mini golf, archery and bowling. But there are some more unusual mini games like cooking with a wok and stacking ice cream which ended up being far more fun than I expected.
Not so fun was the developers’ interpretation of air hockey which doesn’t have a head to head mode. Instead, it plays like a survival mode where players all take up the bottom of the screen and try to avoid pucks going in their own goal. Also, table tennis just has the player volleying a ball and once again not going head to head which seems very odd. The game is certainly more enjoyable played with more than one other player.
Motion or Pro Controls?
You have the choice to play most of these games with motion controls using a single joy con. We tried using dual joy cons for one player but it didn’t work which seemed a bit of a shame for mini games like archery. As to be expected, motion controls are an incredibly mixed bag. I just could not get to grips with them for many of the mini games with the exception of archery. Bowling proved to be far more fiddly than it should be.
Trying to mimic the excellent Wii Bowling still seems to be quite the challenge. Breathe a sigh of relief though, as you can play every mini game with a button and analogue whether it’s a single joy con, two together or even a pro controller. This control scheme is called ‘pro mode’ but is actually accessible for gamers of all skill levels. All mini games give easy instructions on how to enjoy the game, making everything have an appealing pick up and play feel even if you have never touched a video game before.
Explore the Island
The game adds a little more depth than just the mini-games. You can also explore the island talking to random NPCs, spending money building sandcastles and buying drinks which give you absolutely nothing in return for doing so. The main focus of this exploration is so you can hunt for collectables and treasures using items you find but more on that later.
You can also unlock new areas by beating NPC records in the mini games. You can also find these random football pitches and kick balls into the goal. For those players that are looking for a little more than just the mini games, it adds some extra exploratory incentive which can still be enjoyed with up to 4 players locally.
Always Wear Sunscreen
The graphics are a bit of a mixed bag. To begin with the game lets you choose from multiple characters which all just look the same with the exception of their hair cut, skin colour and name. Until you start unlocking new cosmetics there really is not a lot to distinguish the characters which makes you wonder why even offer the choice, to begin with, and instead start with one character you can customize. You can name your own character though. One of the small joys of multiplayer focused games like this is being able to name your silly character after yourself or give it a funny nickname.
The island itself is colourful. Sandy beaches and palm trees certainly bring about the holiday feel. It’s a pretty standard happy family friendly design that doesn’t do much to make it stand out artistically but just does the job. There’s also a pretty typical holiday themed soundtrack to accompany you on your travels around the island.
Money and Tools
To unlock new cosmetics in the game you need to accumulate gold coins. By playing the mini games you can earn about 10 gold coins a game which seems a bit slim. You can also use the gold coins to buy special tools to use on the island like a fishing rod, metal detector, bug net and shovel. In one of the first shops I entered on the island I was shocked to see the shovel cost 5000 gold pieces. This mentally led me to believe there would be an enormous grind to have any hope of acquiring these items. But by shopping around you can find other items much cheaper.
With these items you can use them on the island to catch bugs, fish and find treasures. And suddenly you start earning money much quicker than you would be playing the mini-games. Eventually, we had more gold than we knew what to do with making the game’s progression with the gold kinda inconsistent and unnecessary. Why not just unlock new cosmetics by playing the mini-games?
Conclusion – Instant Fun, Just Add Player
Instant Sports Paradise attempts to be a fun family-friendly adventure suitable for gamers of all skill levels. For the most part, the game achieves these goals. With simple controls, these games are pick up and play that even someone that rarely plays video games can join in the fun. But as is often the case with these collections most games are fun, some passable but some pretty forgettable. A decent holiday to share with loved ones that need to get away from it all for a few hours.
Final Verdict: I Like it