Instant Sports All-Stars
I have to thank Instant Sports All-Stars for reminding me how mediocre a game can get after playing many great games over the Summer. This is one of the worst games I've played in a while but I'm happy. Why? Because I forgot the one genre of games that exists specifically to prey on innocent families. I am talking, of course, about the Cash Grab genre.
This is a genre of video game that I expect to see a lot more of as we approach the fourth quarter of this year. The holiday season is no stranger to such titles where the concept of "family-friendly" is a selling point. Not necessarily a game that will win accolades but something that a company can sell for a fraction of the price and get others to buy it.
With the moderate success of Nintendo Switch Sports, French developer BreakFirst releases the latest game in the Instant Sports series, Instant Sports All-Stars. What's that? Have you never heard of the original series before? Well, neither did I until a quick Google search showed that there's an entire series based on cheap sports minigames. Winter Sports, Beach Sports, Tennis, and an assortment of sports such as All-Stars.
If this game was meant to be a collection of mini-games that the franchise is known for, then I'm not sure how successful it was in bringing it to the PlayStation 5 exclusively. Sure it's on the Nintendo Switch but that's a platform already saturated with family-friendly games. The most they could have done was release the game on the PS4, Xbox One, or even the PC. For some reason, this game is only on the Switch and the PS5, the console that very few can get their hands on to this day.
The second red flag is the main menu theme as it's on a 15-second loop. This is a common thing with the music for this game, in that everything from the sound to the music and beyond has the bare minimum applied. While I can give credit that you could create a character, even the graphics look incredibly shoddy. For a game that's only available on two consoles and the second being the cream of the crop, the graphics look like early PS2 graphics, maybe late PSX graphics.
The variety of mini-games is no better either. You have games where you shoot the targets, shoot a basketball, play a game of soccer, a game of hockey, and stacking food. Nothing says "American Sports" than stacking scoops of ice cream and layers of burgers. The controls are sometimes not responsive, making games like basketball and shooting a chore. What's worse is that of course the AI "aimbots," instantly lock towards targets on an obvious pattern. In early levels, you can abuse this but in later levels, they immediately snap with little to no response.
There's a lack of variety within the small pool of minigames, with each addition adding something to "spice" things up. A Soccer game is the same whether it's on the street or in a stadium, the only difference is the obstacles in the former. No matter the setting or the added gimmick, the core gameplay for each minigame is the same. By the time you've entered the second tournament, you've just about seen it all.
I feel like this is the calm before the storm of bad shovelware "family-friendly" games and I for one am ready to brace for impact. If Instant Sports All-Stars is any indication, then it's going to be yet another fun-filled extravaganza. That and I've wasted thirty minutes of my time playing so you shouldn't either.
Instant Sports All-Stars is available on the Switch and PS5.