reviews\ Jul 4, 2011 at 8:00 pm

Dual Pen Sports Review (3DS)


The so-called new generation of gaming is here. It's more casual and mainstream for new and old generations of gamers alike. This new style can be attributed to the release of the Nintendo Wii and its in-package hit, Wii Sports. After hours and hours of families everywhere looking ridiculous while throwing their pretend bowling ball and swinging their imaginary tennis racket, companies decided they could cash in on the success of Nintendo’s growing share in the new market. The Wii was flooded with clones of Wii Sports, but now they're moving to the 3DS. Dual Pen Sports is, without a doubt, a Wii Sports clone, but its new, innovative way to play pushes the line between good and outright uncomfortable.

Dual Pen Sports is like many of the sports games out there today. There are a selection of different sports to play, in which you have certain goals to achieve and how many goals/homeruns/baskets you nail determines the number of athlete points you're given. Dual Pen offers seven different sports, which include baseball, basketball, soccer, skiing, archery and boxing.

When powering up the 3DS and loading Dual Pen Sports for the first time, you will be given the option to create your player. You can choose from a variety of options, much like customizing your Mii on Wii/3DS or avatar on Xbox 360. You can select different features, such as eyes, hair, mouth, etc.

Dual Pen Sports uses two stylus pens to convey actions in the game. Holding one pen in their left hand and one in their right, players perform a series of swipes and slashes to one up their opponent. Each sport uses the pens for different actions. For example, in soccer, players use their left hand to take steps back and their right hand to direct the power and direction the soccer ball travels.

Every sport has two modes to play: Rank Match and Score Try. In Rank Match, your character is put up against other characters based on his/her athlete points. This is one of the traits that will instantly remind you of how Wii Sports matched you up with your opponents. In Score Try, your character is given challenges within the certain sport you choose. Keeping soccer in mind, the player achieves points by hitting the soccer ball accurately in a certain spot within the goal.

The game also offers a daily challenge and Tap exercises to get you used to using dual stylus pens. The daily challenge offers up a challenge for you every day on different sports. It is a unique addition, but also an unnecessary one. Tap exercises is a series of mini-games that helps you become more precise and accurate using both stylus pens.

Multiplayer is not absent on this title, either. Wi-Fi through the 3DS allows local play on Dual Pen Sports. You can play up to three “rivals” in any one of the seven sports. Connection is easy and won’t be hard for even younger players to understand.

Dual Pen Sports does everything it can to provide a new experience and new gameplay to the stale clones that have come after Wii Sports. The dual stylus pens can be fun and can keep players involved and interested. However, the same things that help it break out from the rest of the mini-game/sports games out there are the same things to hurt its attempt at advancing the genre.

The dual pens, although sometimes fun, are also completely uncomfortable. The point of a handheld is for it to be portable. With Dual Pen Sports, this isn’t the case. The two pens definitely limit where you can play. You can’t hold the 3DS and both pens and play the game at the same time. It's extremely uncomfortable and nearly impossible to do. To put it in perspective, it's like having a cell phone that only makes calls when you set it down flat on a table.

Without fixing the double pen problem, Dual Pen Sports doesn’t do anything different than any other game like it. It's the same situation we've seen time and time again with sports games of this caliber. The gameplay can be quite entertaining, but it's only a matter of time before you get bored of the pens and realize how uninteresting and tired you are of the same gameplay.

Another problem is the damage your screen may take from the extreme tapping and slashing of your two stylus pens. On most sports, it isn’t bad at all. Just a simple swipe will let the action happen on screen. However, with sports like boxing and skiing, it will be natural for players to swipe hard to cut to the right quickly in skiing or to get as many punches in on your opponent in boxing. Players will find themselves in a bad spot when they go too hard with their swipes and end up with a damaged screen. It's not a guaranteed result, but it wouldn’t be surprising considering how intense the swiping gets with those two sports in particular.

Dual Pen Sports, in a nut shell, is a good try at deepening a genre of games that are becoming more boring with each release. The idea worked on the Wii because Nintendo put innovation into the formula and made it work with motion controls. Dual Pen Sports tried its hand at innovation by using dual stylus pens, but they're too impractical and awkward for a popular, mainstream game. Only take a look at this one if you are an absolute mini-game/sports fanatic or you don’t game a lot on the go.

Above Average

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