Running around an island while collecting things and playing mini-games sounds fun and thankfully, Instant Sports Paradise definitely is.
First things first; I must mention that Instant Sports Paradise is a game that's best played with friends and it can be enjoyed with up to 4 simultaneous players. It's a very unique game in that at its core, it's a party game but it's also very laidback in its approach to the genre. Specifically, you run around the island with your chums which acts as the cooperative component then whenever you want, you can start a mini-game which is obviously the competitive part of the equation. This setup is actually quite brilliant because whether you're working together to complete challenges or seeing who can claim top prize in a round of mini-golf, you're bound to have a fun time.
As you run around the island, you can use acquired tools such as a shovel, metal detector, bug net, and fishing rod to amass a collection of treasure maps, minerals, insects, and fish which also grants you money. Then, you can head into a shop to buy character customization components as well as tools if you don't have all of them yet. Needless to say, dressing your character up in silly outfits and hairstyles can be hilarious. On top of that, there are challenges to complete such as timed ones where you have to collect an assortment of items for someone. However, I found these to be super-frustrating due to their random nature and the fact that you have to pay before each attempt which doesn't make much sense. Aren't I supposed to be helping someone? Why are they charging me to do so?
Anyway, there are a dozen mini-games to start and the collection ranges wildly in quality. For example, Seaplane has you fly around while shooting coloured balloons to get points and sabotage your opponents and it's very colourful and a lot of fun. Meanwhile, Wingsuit is incredibly difficult to control and will have you smacking into the walls constantly. More good ones include Wakeboard where you can do tricks, Mini-golf which can take a while but is still fun, the frantic Shell Hunt, and the silly Wok cooking mini-game.
Upon achieving certain scores and such at a selection of mini-games, you'll unlock more parts of the island that were previously fenced off which contain surprises such as rare collectibles. It's great to see everything tie together like this and there's a welcome sense of reward for obtaining and unlocking everything. Oh, and some mini-games have unlockable tiers that award you with new courses, etc.
Although Instant Sports Paradise's structure is a welcome change of pace, I wish it also featured a more traditional party game mode such as tournaments or a board game. Now that I think about it, a mode that turned the whole island into a giant board game would have been awesome! As it is, it's still a fun and jam-packed experience but a more competitive option would have went a long way.
The unconventional structure of Instant Sports Paradise makes it fun to both cooperate and compete with chums within the same multiplayer session. In fact, I wish more party games would follow a similar structure because it's genuinely quite clever.
- + Unique blend of mini-games and exploration that's great fun with friends
- + Most of the mini-games are decent
- + Rewarding unlockables and challenges
- - Could use a tournament or board game mode
- - Some of the mini-games aren't that fun
- - A few challenges are far too tricky