I hadn't seen any type of thread concerning this title really, but wanted to share my thoughts and opinions on this game. I realize there will be a lot of potential "I only buyz AAA games with Mario, Zelda and [fill in other Nintendo franchise character]", but there are others who might have considered this had there been more feedback.
I had been curious about this since it was released. I love games like Wii Sports or games of this nature. This doesn't isn't a game with really "deep" mechanics, but instead, offers up a good variety of sports games that can be played in bite size chunks.
One thing I want to mention straight away that initially threw me off from even considering this title - the game does not have to be played with 2 styli. It does come bundled with 2 nice feeling styli, but I found that using 2 is not a true requirement. I am perfectly able to play the game with my single 3DS stylus just fine. It seems most of the mechanics split the bottom screen in half, requiring you to do some action on one side followed by another action on the other. Since the 3DS screen does not allow for Multi-touch capabilities, this circumvents the required use of both styli at the same time.
TL;DR - game is playable with just one stylus, don't let the name throw you off
The game begins through the creation of an avatar. I'm confused as to why Namco/Bandai didn't just us the built in Avatar's, but I guess it stems from the fact that you can unlock additional character features/clothing by competing and moving up in the ranks.
Once you select and customize your avatar, you get to choose your event. Playing the event for the first time provides you a briefly worded tutorial on how to play the event followed by a practice session. Once you are ready, it's on to play the even through the Rankings.
Rankings allows you to continuously play through competitors progressively increasing in difficulty. As you play through, you earn Athli points which is your overall score from all events played. If you win an event, it increases. Losing causes a decrease and a chance to replay your competitor.
Increasing your Athli points allows for more features to be opened for your avatar as a reward.
Score Match is a secondary mode to the even where you try to score points by hitting or collecting various things at different point levels. As you earn points, you unlock harder difficulty levels from progressing.
There are 7 games included to play through. Below is a description of each along with the play mechanics. I've ranked them in order from my favorite to least:
Archery - Archery is played by sliding on the left side of the screen to raise the bow and then sliding down and holding to aim on the right. (remember, these actions are done one after another and not at the same time). As you progress through the rankings, wind and distance become a factor and something to consider to make the shot.
Baseball - Timing is critical in this game as you slide on the left to start your step and then slide to the right to make contact. I like that with various pitches, the timing has to be right (similar to how it would be done in real life) because if you're expecting a fastball and a changeup is thrown, it really makes you swing at the wrong time. You Rank by hitting more Home Runs than your opponent to progress.
Boxing - For boxing, you the left and right are split into 3 strike areas - Upper Hook, jab and body shot. In the middle are areas for high and low block. This is similar to Wii Sports boxing or even to an extent, Mike Tyson's Punchout since the characters will usually open up big for some sort of "signature" move. Progression is made by KO'ing your opponent.
3DS FC 0903-2783-8206
Basketball - The 2 steps in this game are to first catch the pass (tap the left side) and then jump/shoot on the right. There is a nice feel of getting the jumping (hold down stylus on the right) and then shooting (once your character is at the peak of their jump, slide up to shoot - more slide equals harder shot) since the timing of the jump and the amount to slide affects where the ball is thrown. It's not a matter of just sliding arbitrarily, there is a "feel" to actually shooting depending on where you're at, how hard you slide and which direction the slide is done.
Paragliding - This to me felt like one of the harder events. It feels like the handgliding mode in Pilotwings where you collect items and gradually descend as you fly. There are up and down thermals to alter your altitude and I like that the final step is to fly through a large bulls-eye with various point amounts dependent on where you fly through. The paraglider is controlled by sliding down on either the right or left side of the screen to turn. The amount of turn is determined by how much you slide so you definitely can control the turn amount in various increments.
Skiing - Similar to Paragliding, you control the direction of your person by sliding inwards from the left or right. I found this counter intuitive to what you might think to do for turning since I would have slide left to turn left or right to turn right. You earn points by going through slalom gates. Missing the gates earns penalty points to your time and progression is handled by beating your opponents time.
Just to clarify, even though these are ranked this way, I am thoroughly enjoying the first 5, and still like the last 2. Skiing is my least favorite, but I haven't spent nearly as much time playing it as the others.
In terms of graphics and 3D, I would say they are serviceable and do the job just fine. They are done in the spirit of Wii Sports, and compliment the game well.
On the whole, I do recommend people give this game a try. It's actually a somewhat difficult title to find, but I think fans of Wii Sports like games will actually like this. I wished they wouldn't have named or tried to sell this game as having to use 2 styli since that was a big turn off for me initially. Once I realized that I didn't need to do this, the games were just as intuitive with one stylus. I think it's actually more playable with one rather than 2 since you can actually hold the 3DS system itself rather than have to place it down on a table top and use your non-dominant hand.
If anyone has any questions, I would be glad to answer them. I don't usually get this "promotional" on games, but I was truly surprised by this one and wanted to give other interested people some feedback.
TL;DR - If you like Wii Sports - this game might be right up your alley
3DS FC 0903-2783-8206
I made a thread when it first came out. but not much interest in it.
It is a fun game though.
JPN Black 3DS (Feb 27th, 2011)
I had tried to search before posting and didn't see it or would have added my post there. It's too bad since most people seem to only want a certain kind of game, anything else is simply discarded and instantly dismissed.
Glad to see I'm not the only one who liked it. =)
3DS FC 0903-2783-8206