Remember the old 8-bit cartridge games, where all of the story was explained in the manual? If you’re like us, every once in a while, you lost the manual or didn’t bother to read it, which meant you were playing a game that seemed to make little to no sense. Justin Smith’s Realistic Summer Sports Simulator is a lot like that, where you can only guess what is supposed to be happening. Maybe this game is about robots in some kind of future Olympics. We’re not quite sure, but this is certainly a game with lots of imagination.
This game runs you through a series of different sports, in which you must compete for top scores. The games pit four competitors against each other, so you can choose to play against three computer players or hand off your device to up to three friends. When playing, you must choose which nation you will be playing for, but these aren’t the flags you’re probably expecting. For instance, you can play for the honor of Finladi Arabia, or the great country of Austruatemala, or even the unforgettable Angolovakia. From these names alone, you get a sense of what this game is like.
Grab those rings.
While competing in the games, you control an 8-bit humanoid, resembling something from an old Atari cartridge. All of the games are controlled in the same fashion, but the objectives are different. The game operates on the use of a bungie-like mechanic, in which you drag your finger from your character into the empty space of the arena, dragging your character by a springy rope that stretches. For instance, in the 100-meter dash, you must drag your character the length of the track, trying to move him as quickly as possible. Your bungie only has so much strength at one time, so you must strategically release and repull for maximum distance.
Other games, like diving, require more precision. You must direct your humanoid character from the platform into the pool below, being sure that he drops head-first into the water. Others, like the javelin, require you to spring your character as far as possible, but not so far that he passes the line and is disqualified. Assuming you performed the feat correctly, your athlete will remain in place, but his javelin will fly through the air. If the javelin sticks in the ground, you are awarded points. If not, you get a disqualification.
Under a golden sky.
One of the interesting aspects of this game is its lack of instruction. There are no descriptions for any of the games, so you must simply learn by trial and error. Thankfully there is a practice mode, where you can select specific sports to replay. Otherwise, if you play the entire game, you only get one shot at each sport.
Perhaps the most frustrating aspect of the game is its business model. For a cheap price, you download the initial game, which only includes four sports. In order to unlock the entire fourteen-sport summer games, you must pay an additional, larger fee. Considering all of the games play the same, with their bungie-mechanic, and considering none of them are all that impressive, it seems rather brave to only give less than half of all the games for the initial paid download. Realistic Summer Sports Simulator is a fun distraction, but at best it’s a quirky and silly title. It’s unlikely this is a game you’d shill out several dollars for, when other games that would provide you will hours of addictive gameplay are available for a third the price.
It’s nice to see a game with such unique humor and imagination, especially in the 8-bit realm. It’s also nice to see a game that incorporates pass-and-play multiplayer, reminiscent of the old home console and cartridge days. However, Justin Smith’s Realistic Summer Sports Simulator’s use of in-app purchases seems uncalled-for, especially since the initial four games require payment as well.