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Dual Pen Sports Review

Two pens aren't necessarily better than one

Swimming in a sea of unnecessary gimmicks: That's Dual Pen Sports. It insists that playing with a stylus in each hand is some sort of exciting new revolution in game control, going so far as bundling a free stylus with the game.

While playing its seven sports (each of which has two mini-games within it) you'll collect 'Athli Points' to show your ambidextrousness, while also taking special two-handed tests to measure your 'Fingergility'. It's frustrating, because if you can navigate your way past the silly buzzwords and odd control system, this a fun game.

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It's odd that Namco Bandai would try to sell people on playing their game in a needlessly uncomfortable manner. Each of the mini-games asks the player to grasp a stylus in either hand, so if you're on a bus or train you'd need to balance the 3DS on your lap to play.

According to the game, some actions can only be performed with your left hand (i.e. by touching the left side of the screen), others with the right. The thing is, since the 3DS touch screen can't recognise two stylus touches at once, each game is designed in a way that means you'll only ever perform one action at a time.

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Take the football game, which is incidentally our favourite of the bunch. Here you have to score free kicks by bending the ball around a wall. You're supposed to slide the left stylus down first to make your player step back (the longer your run-up is, the more powerful your shot becomes, but the less swerve you'll be able to put on the ball). Then you use the right stylus, sliding down to set the height then sliding up in a curve to set the path of the ball. It's stupidly addictive, but it quickly becomes obvious that because you're doing one action at a time, you can easily set the run-up then perform the shot with one stylus.

Look Ma, One Hand

In fact, all seven of the games are far easier to control, more fun to play, more comfortable and actually playable on public transport using only one stylus. In baseball, the left stylus winds your bat back and the right stylus swings it forward, so you can just use the one.

In skiing, you slide the left stylus to the right to turn right, and slide the right one to the left to turn left. Again, just use the one and slide it left or right to turn.

Indeed, it seems that some of the sports had pointless left-hand stuff shoehorned in just to make use of the second stylus. Is there really any point catching a basketball with your left hand before shooting it with the right? Or raising your bow in archery with the left stylus before actually pulling back, aiming and firing with the right?

If you can ignore all the silly gimmickry and keep the second stylus securely tucked away as a spare, then Dual Pen Sports is a decent collection of addictive mini-games with a good experience points (sorry, Athli Points) system to keep you playing. It's not quite essential at £35 but if you can get it for cheaper, go for it.


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  1. puppypower Thursday 1st Sep 2011 at 15:51

    LOL just another pointless gimmick to get more sales.
    if you could really use duel pens someone else would have thought of it by now or nintendo would have least demonstrated it working.

    the minigames look alright tho, i wont be getting it but younger gamers will probably enjoy it
    i prefer party/sports games like this when you play with a party and u carnt really do that on a handheld

  2. Captain Kuchiki Thursday 1st Sep 2011 at 20:51

    Am I the only one here who is naturally ambidextrous?

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