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DualPenSports Review


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On 06/27/2011 at 05:07 PM by Nick DiMola

The name makes me think shovelware garbage, but the content is anything but.
RECOMMENDATION:

The “tween” market will likely enjoy the experience here, especially those with an interest in sports.

Most similar to the Wii Sports games, particularly in its implementation and polish, DualPenSports features a wholly unique control scheme that works surprisingly well. In the seven sports, Baseball, Basketball, Soccer, Skiing, Boxing, Archery, and Paragliding, all actions are broken down into simple touch screen swipes.

Despite the name, the game doesn’t require the use of two styluses. Given that the 3DS is not a multi-touch device, it can only detect one input at a time so it’s much easier and more portable to play by just using your dominant hand. Only boxing really benefits from using both hands and even then it’s a bit of a stretch. It can even be frustrating at times to use both; you have to be careful to let off the screen with one hand before using your other, or you’ll end up with unintended results. Sure, if you want scout’s honor, you should be using both hands to play the game as detailed by the in-game instructions, but that would require playing while sitting at a table.

Getting into the game is easy enough once you decide on how many pens you’re going to use.

In boxing, the touchscreen shows a symmetrical swipe guide. A vertical swipe will punch high, a horizontal left or right swipe will perform a hook, a body shot will be performed with the same gesture at the bottom. You can also block by touching the screen in different spots high and low. It sounds gimmicky, but it feels very natural in execution.

Soccer was particularly impressive as you could exercise precise control over the ball with the setup. By first stepping back by drawing a straight line down on the left side, then angling by drawing down on the right and making a forward swipe motion to simulate the trajectory and power behind the ball, you could put the ball exactly where you wanted. Thankfully there’s a certain degree of finesse to it, meaning you can perfect your control over repeated play.

Performing any given action with absolute perfection and consistency is a huge challenge in each sport, making the overall game impressively tough to score high in. Though it seems as if it’s a kid’s game, the challenge level present would entertain even the most hardcore players.

While the game excels at simplifying controls, it does so at the expense of simplifying the experience for each sport. For instance, baseball is nothing more than swinging at the ball. All other parts of the sport have been excised to focus on high scoring gameplay. This isn’t a bad thing per se, but it removes a lot of the replayability of the experience, putting all of its chips on achieving high scores.

Each sport has two general events. The first is a direct competition with a computer player. Like Wii Sports, you will face increasingly challenging foes, forced to do better and better in order to succeed. Baseball has home run derby and you must continue to hit more home runs than your opponent without missing the ball. The game tracks your progress through “athli” points, which exist specifically in the sport and spanning the entire game for an overall score.

The other event is based specifically around high scores and has a variety of difficulty settings that must be unlocked. Continuing the baseball example, depending on where you hit the ball, you’ll score a different number of points. The more points you score without missing the ball or hitting a foul three times, the higher medal you’ll be awarded.

Aside from the more basic representation of each sport, the game suffers from one other problem: each sport has varying levels of entertainment. Boxing and archery were clearly the best of the bunch, with skiing, soccer, and baseball being almost as entertaining. Paragliding, and especially basketball, were not very much fun. Basketball was incredibly hard to accurately and consistently control and it almost seemed that the development team knew this. The scores you must achieve are laughably low, making it clear that they don’t expect you to hit many baskets during a single session.

All things considered, DualPenSports is a solid experience that offers something unique, wrapped in a very familiar package. While the title is poor and two pens aren’t necessary, you’ll have a great time perfecting your gestures and achieving high scores.

Review Policy

In our reviews, we'll try not to bore you with minutiae of a game. Instead, we'll outline what makes the game good or bad, and focus on telling you whether or not it is worth your time as opposed to what button makes you jump.

We use a five-star rating system with intervals of .5. Below is an outline of what each score generally means:


All games that receive this score are standout games in their genre. All players should seek a way to play this game. While the score doesn't equate to perfection, it's the best any game could conceivably do.


These are above-average games that most players should consider purchasing. Nearly everyone will enjoy the game and given the proper audience, some may even love these games.


This is our middle-of-the-road ranking. Titles that receive three stars may not make a strong impression on the reviewer in either direction. These games may have some faults and some strong points but they average out to be a modest title that is at least worthy of rental for most.


Games that are awarded two stars are below average titles. Good ideas may be present, but execution is poor and many issues hinder the experience.


Though functional, a game that receives this score has major issues. There are little to no redeeming qualities and should be avoided by nearly all players.


A game that gets this score is fundamentally broken and should be avoided by everyone.


 

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