Ubisoft has been a stalwart partner of Nintendo's for quite some time now, always turning up at the launch of a new console with a clutch of games to demonstrate its support for the big N. Unfortunately, outside quality efforts such as ZombiU and to a lesser extent Assassin's Creed III, it's not always the kind of support you would really welcome. Imagine a celebrity turning up to a premier, gritting their teeth as they pose awkwardly on the red carpet with their drunken mother-in-law who got dressed in the dark and is wearing off flip-flops. See that mother in law? That's Sports Connection, that is.
The box promises to let you "play six of your favourite sports in a whole new way" which is probably accurate if you take "whole new" to mean "clumsily and badly made". It's true that none of these sports have ever felt quite so uncomfortable to play, nor so devoid of entertainment value. So at least the blurb is reasonably honest. That is until it gets to the "thrilling mini-games" part, though perhaps that's a misprint and they actually meant "chilling", referring to the blank-eyed, wonky-mouthed avatars you choose from.
So what do we have? Well, for starters there's a dreadful Mario Kart clone, which at least has the decency to fast-paced, but it runs about as smoothly as a four-frame flipnote. Then there's football, where players like to jog over to the side of the pitch for a rest every few seconds, or, alternatively, dry-hump the goalposts. Tennis adopts a curious, stylus-led control scheme that might be an interesting idea if it wasn't seemingly your opponent's first encounter with the sport, or if they weren't apparently suffering from chronic arthritis. Baseball is perhaps the pick of the bunch, being tolerably mundane, rather than abject. It punches Nintendo's idea of moving the GamePad to catch the ball in your gloved mitt and you pitch by drawing a line. The path you actually throw isn't a particularly close match, though: I know because I tried to spell the word "dull" using the ball's trajectory.
Either way, it's certainly better than their rendition of American Football, which features the most cack-handed implementation of throwing a ball possible. And that's when it works. When defending you're given the option to move players to block routes to the offensive team's receivers, which would be fine if your men didn't completely ignore your instructions. Golf, meanwhile, merely had to copy Wii Sports to win the dubious honour of Best Game in Sports Connection, but it can't even manage that. Jerkier than a strip of dry-cured beef, it asks you to sync the remote between every single hole. In mitigation, as with the rest of Sports Connection, it's primarily a multiplayer game, but good luck roping in any other poor saps.
As if Sports Connection wasn't bad enough, it also suffers from bafflingly long loading times, while the font is so dull even his friend Times New Roman secretly hates him. If you're looking for a present for your mortal enemy, you've come to the right place. Everyone else? Avoid as you would burying your head in a nest of angry fire ants.