The Gymnastic events are more entertaining, with the remote used to leap from the trampoline or onto the horse, and sequences of twists and button presses triggering spectacular routines. The field events aren’t so great, primarily because on your first few goes you’ll be busy trying to make enough sense of the instructions to do what you need to do in the right order, and then once you have the sequence cracked you’ll find it virtually impossible to fail. Skeet shooting is a competent test of remote marksmanship, but spoiled by a silly pre-shooting mechanism where you need to time a button press in order to maximise the size of your sights. Hit it, and you have a huge advantage. Fluff it, and you’ll be lucky to get anything. As a result, this single button press probably has more impact on your success rate than your actual shooting skills.
Table tennis is simple – and no replacement for Wii Sports tennis – but roughly entertaining if only to hear the weird, erm, shall we say ‘excitable’ noises Princess Daisy makes while playing against you. Rowing combines timing and quick-response button pressing in a way that just about works, while Fencing is a bit of a disaster. During your first few goes you’ll note that the remote doesn’t seem to handle the feints and parries fast enough to save your bacon, at which point you’ll realise you can win most matches by thrusting your epee at your opponent then quickly hopping back two steps before they can take their turn.
My biggest hate, however, is probably the archery. On the one hand, it cleverly simulates the sport by asking you to hold the nunchuk like the bow, press A and B to grasp the string then drag back the remote to pull it taut, then aim using separate cursors for both controllers while simultaneously adjusting for windspeed. On the other hand, this doesn’t just mean that you have your hands full with a lot of complicated stuff, it also means you’re trying to compensate for the vagueries of the tracking and the fact that one or both remotes can go haywire at any time. As your computer-controlled rivals seem to do especially well here, it’s the event I’ve come to dread more than any other.
And, frankly, whoever came up with the Dream Race category should be made to stay late for a few weeks. These extra-Olympic events merge arm-pumping sprinting with Mario Kart style courses, power-ups and weapons in one of the least satisfying mash-ups I’ve come across since a horrific tuna and banana sandwich I encountered at a particularly traumatic childhood birthday party. It’s an absolute mess, and the final straw for particular circuits.