With Olympics fever now at its height, you can get in the spirit either by taking to the streets for a risky run (there are muggers and dog muck out there) or virtually via the 8-bit charms of Retro Athletics.

Anyone who grew up destroying joysticks waggling their way through the likes of Track & Field and Daley Thompson's Decathlon will likely pick the latter, briefly enjoy its old skool looks, and then realise its oddly placed controls are nearly as hobbling as leg cramp in a marathon.

Unofficial merchandise

Retro Athletics first appeared on the Google Play store as Retro Olympics. Having presumably been robbed of that official-sounding moniker by trademark lawyers, Bravo Game Studio's title now has to rely on retro charisma alone. The endless obnoxious pop-up ads don't help.

Alongside minimal, sprite-based graphics reminiscent of a budget Spectrum-era title - designed to appeal to creaky old gamers like me - there are six very straightforward events to master in either Single Event highscore challenges (sadly, offline only) or a full Championship.

From the classic 100m Dash to Hurdles, Swimming, Javelin, and Weightlifting, the basics are all covered - even if they all play roughly the same in a mildly compulsive way.

In an attempt to replicate the joystick-mashing, thumb-shattering sports games of yore, there are only three buttons needed for each event. All require you to frantically tap A and B buttons on either side of the screen to build up pace or, in the case of weight-lifting, power.

They seem responsive enough, but could do with being a lot bigger and chunkier to aid your hammering.

But the main problem is the timed use of a third C button at pivotal moments - namely to aim your jump, angle a javelin throw, or get a sprint boost.

Stumbling at the final hurdle

Dropping the final icon smack bang in the middle of the screen means - at first glance - that you have to press it with your nose.

In reality you have to let go of the other buttons for an immaculately timed second, or be forced to lay your device flat and play with three fingers.

It feels unnatural, and with such a tiny window for error in each event you'll be crying out for a menu option to place the buttons in more sensible spots.

Combine this issue with the distracting ads and even with three attempts per go to nab Bronze, Silver, or Gold you'll be unlikely to walk away from many events with a medal around your neck.

These design decisions nearly kill Retro Olympics's well-cultivated retro looks, and make playing the instafail Championship mode an almost impossibly futile task.