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Instant Sports Paradise review for Nintendo Switch, PS5, PS4


Platform: Nintendo Switch
Also on: PS4, PS5
Publisher: Plug In Digital
Developer: Breakfirst Games
Medium: Digital/Disc/Cartridge
Players: 1-4
Online: No
ESRB: E

The challenge for any sports mini-game collection like Instant Sports Paradise is that the genre basically peaked with Wii Sports Resort more than a decade ago, and it’s been all downhill ever since. Even the best of the rest — say, Go Vacation — still come off as pale imitations. With that as a starting point, Instant Sports Paradise was always going to face some pretty steep challenges to even seem half-decent.

But let’s be frank: it doesn’t do itself any real favours by being this terrible.

To be fair, I’ll note that I played the game solo, and it does allow for up to four players. What’s more, I played it handheld, and one of the joys of Wii Sports was playing it with motion controls. So it’s quite possible that I would’ve enjoyed Instant Sports Paradise a little more if I’d played it with other people on a big screen.

That said, I think I’d be more embarrassed about suggesting we play something so shoddy when the superior alternative would be to reconnect my Wii.

Part of the problem is that of the dozen or so minigames on offer here, a good chunk of them are less “instant sports” and more “cheap mobile games.” Activities like Wok (where you spin your thumbstick around and around cooking various items), Ice Cream (where you match ice cream cone patterns), and Shell Hunt (where you walk around a beach picking up shells) would feel like dull time-wasters on your phone, and they don’t feel any more enjoyable here. Even games that theoretically sound like sports actually aren’t — Air Hockey, for example, is more like a brick breaker clone (minus bricks to break), where you have to stop pucks from exiting down the bottom of the screen, while Table Tennis just consists of you bouncing a ping-pong ball up and down.

Mind you, the sports that do bear similarities to their real-world counterparts aren’t much more interesting. Bowling consists of just a few frames with awkward controls. Seaplane consists of flying around, shooting at targets, battling with awkward controls. Wakeboarding and Jet Ski: both basically what you’d expect, both marred by awkward controls.

Just about the only sports that come off half-decently here are Archery and Mini-Golf, but even they’re not that fun once you’ve achieved gold in both. Archery is just a couple of targets with progressively gustier wind as you increase the difficulty, and Mini-Golf only offers the chance to play a couple of holes. In both cases, you can find those same sports in significantly better packages elsewhere on the eShop.

Instant Sports Paradise is so bad that even the “Paradise” part of its name feels shoddy and half-hearted. The island on which you’re stranded/”vacationing” is populated by a bunch of people who can only say the same short sentences, getting around is a pain, and it all looks grainy and ugly.

Really, there’s no saving grace to be found here. As I said up top, even in a best-case scenario, Instant Sports Paradise would’ve felt like a bargain basement version of Wii Sports Resort. But this can’t even achieve that very low target. Instant Sports Paradise is a lousy game that’s completely and utterly lacking in every way imaginable.

Plug In Digital provided us with an Instant Sports Paradise Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: D