Beach Games 12-Pack
| Beach Games 12 Pack

You wouldn't believe how many console controllers I've broken purely by playing Olympic tie-ins.

Whether they're aping the summer or winter games, sporting titles tend to focus on hammering keys as quickly as you possibly can. In the heat of a race, it's easy to forget that those fragile pad buttons aren't as sustainable as flesh and bone.

Digital Chocolate's attempt to bring a little sunshine to familiar track and field events thankfully sidesteps any need to smash down on one key over and over, instead making winning those gold medals a question of timing and, rather appropriately, pure determination.

Just whether its simple and intentionally repetitive play will get everyone's pulses racing is another matter, however.

It's the repetition that makes Beach Games the kind of title you can pick up and master in your lunch break. With twelve events available either in a Quick Play mode, or via a career that sees you learning the ropes before taking on the world for cups and glory, each of the games fall into set categories.

There are those that focus on speed, those that zero in on placement and accuracy, and those that are simply a matter of mastering your self-control.

The most accessible are the speed contests, which take the form of 100m sprints on the sand and 200m freestyle swims, among others types of race. Building up pace in these races relies on alternate tapping of keys '4' and '6'.

Establishing this base camp allows Beach Games to (quite literally) throw in hurdle after hurdle, playing on the same theme over and over but spicing it up with lines of sand castles or oncoming waves that can only be avoided with a timely tap of the '5' key.

Essentially, once you've mastered the art of the most basic events, you're able to adapt and pick up a medal or two in the other, slightly more complicated, alternatives.

It's a theme that runs throughout. The archery-like 'Bullseye' challenge sees you flinging a disc at a target board has much in common with 'Disc Drive' and 'Beach Ball Dash', which both use target spotting to determine the speed and flight of your throw. Yet again, mastering one means you've got a good chance of mastering all.

Whether you see that as a plus or a minus depends on just what you're looking to Beach Games for. If it’s a quick and fun alternative to the more obtuse Olympic sims out there then it’s a definite plus.

But a time grabbing marathon it isn't. In fact, if you've not won medals of some kind on all of the events within an hour or two, then the likelihood is you've already gotten bored and wandered off to attend to something more gripping.

That's the fine line Beach Games treads throughout. The fact that you'll have a winner's medal around your neck just minutes after firing it up for the first time will attract those after a light bite. But the more adept among you might find that your first, hearty splash with Beach Games also happens to be your last.

Beach Games 12-Pack

Rich in character and easy on the fingers, Beach Games take a good stab at making a wide variety of fictitious sports attractive to one and all, coming up just a little bit short for those after a lengthier run