Athletics Tournament doesn’t really do anything new; it isn’t a trendsetting game by any stretch of the imagination. Many of the hallmarks of gaming eras gone by are found here in full force (i.e. furious and demanding controller button mashing). Does this mean that AT suffers from poor design or implementation in terms of controls? No, not really; this game isn’t broken, but it’s entirely possible that more than a few people will find it to be somewhat difficult
If you’re old enough to remember those old Olympics / track and field –themed games from the early days of consoles, Athletics Tournament will feel a little bit nostalgic to you. On its face, AT is throwback to those super-challenging (controller-based workout) games from an earlier era in gaming in which arcade-style action was the dominant force. How well does this concept translate into our modern era? Well, you’ll have to read on to find out, won’t you?
While you might be inclined to think that, since this is really a budget title, visuals will be shoddy in Athletics Tournament, the opposite is actually true. Not only are the environments much better than you might expect in a game of this price, but there is quite a lot of detail as well. In addition to static objects and environments, character animations, like the referees who test, check and measure your progress, add a certain level of visual stimulation / authenticity which makes the whole experience that much more enjoyable.
Athletics Tournament is a fairly challenging game. Each separate event utilizes, and is controlled by an entirely new control scheme. This is to say that some thought was put into how a controller might be used to accomplish the onscreen activity for any particular event. For example, analog stick motions and furious button-mashing make an appearance in AT.
While there is a training mode which is designed to introduce players to the various events they will be competing in, the “main course” is the career mode, which demands excellence and completion in every event in order for progress to be achieved. Additionally, there is an online mode which allows players to invite friends or newly acquired online buddies to the competition.
The bottom line is, Athletics Tournament is an old-school-ish title that kind of seeks to bring certain elements into a modern setting. This game is not a revolutionary step in a new direction, but it is a solid purchase for those who are looking for something different. Something that’s a little bit “off of the beaten path”, if you understand the meaning; all in all, AT is great for light-hearted fun.