I never try to shaft you, dear reader, into getting a game because I’m too nice and pay lip service to the developer or publisher. When I look at Instant Sports Paradise from BreakFirst and Just For Games and on the Switch, I cringe at writing ‘amazing visuals…sublime gameplay’. On the surface, it doesn’t look great.

Heading to the hub to choose my player – essentially the same characters with wigs, I’m free to run around this true paradise of an island – if you like resort-like spaces. Personally, put me somewhere away from people (I’m a writer…).

After digesting the bright, tropical visuals, an enormous pachyderm enters the lounge and says to me, “Oi, Vulgs. Are you getting this frame rate?”. Slightly alarmed by this interruption, I submissively nod, return to the screen and think, ‘yeah, it’s right. This is pretty janky’.

Instant Sports Paradise Review

Without following any instructions or attempting to read ‘press B button’, I head out to play some minigames and come away feeling quite disappointed. Perhaps this isn’t the fun Summer game I had hoped. But then in walks my little girl, eyes light up and “You’ve got it!”.

Instant Sports Paradise Switch - Party play
Party play. Source: Just For Games

We fiddle about with the joy-cons, attempt to get enough juice in to have a two-player, then choose our characters – soon realising we can change their names to our own. I went with my indoor nickname Daddy. Instantly the game became fun. I’d shift between thrashing this four-year-old with a dominating score or let her beat her old man until she could just about do it on her own accord.

Without a doubt, Instant Paradise Sports is a family game. This isn’t a game for hardcore gamers – the types who leave comments on a review to say how they certainly won’t be spending their money on this mess. It’s the worst pile of poo they’ve ever seen. That’s fine. First, it’s not for you, and that’s ok. Secondly, we don’t care. Well, maybe a little bit.

Did You Know…?

Yes, Instant Paradise Sports is a bit of a mess and has quite a few loading screens between most actions – usually showing the same fact repeatedly. This wouldn’t be bad if there were more variety, but reading the same line gets monotonous between playing. Fortunately, the choice of minigames makes up for it.

Instant Sports Paradise This Summer
Source: Just For Games

Besides the spectacle of flying a plane, archery and jet skis, there are more unique games like cooking with a wok and shell hunting. All of the controls are family-friendly in that there’s usually one or two buttons along with the analogue stick. While anyone can pick it up, the handling on a lot of the games is mental. Archery was, thankfully, accurate, but there’s a wingsuit where all of us who played bounced on our descent. The funny thing is due to the casual feel, making these mistakes is fun and other than not coming first, there’s no real sense of failure or frustration.

Scattered across the island are NPCs to interact with, where you can play different games at a cost. You’ve already bought your ticket for the island, but to engage with these other holidaymakers or perhaps have a bite to eat, you’ll need money that is earned from playing the games. Additionally, you can customise your characters by buying ridiculously sized beards, clothing that wouldn’t look out of place in Miami Vice, and swimwear. Customisation in a family game is a definite winner.

Besides all of these games (which you can fast travel to from a ‘you are here’ board) and the interactions with others, you can hunt for treasure, hunt for bugs similar to Hokko Life, jump into random football games with an oversized beachball, but more importantly: make your own fun.

You’re It

Now, this seems a bit stupid to do your own thing in Instant Paradise Sports, but you’re on holiday – you should do as you please. What the kids and I would do was a game of tag or hide and seek. I didn’t tell my youngest how to sprint, so I would effortlessly win in our made-up races across the island. Then the eldest jumped in and scandalously told her this trade secret. Then the challenges heated up; hiding under umbrellas, spending all the money on clothes – the usual mischievous stuff.

Instant Sports Paradise - Jet
Jet. Ski. Source: Just For Games

But in all seriousness, the leisurely pace and free will to more or less do as you please wipes out all the technical flaws as the joy (and malice) this game brought out in us was fab. In some respects, it’s a little like Go Vacation – a hit with my eldest when we first got the Switch, but now she’s too cool. That didn’t stop her from being a vindictive little… yes, she beat me a fair amount of times too.

So what it all boils down to is Instant Sports Paradise is a party game, primarily for families, one would surmise, but playable for anyone up for some fun. Whether it’ll be your go-to party game is debatable, but for the entertainment, it brought my kids, and subsequently my own for having a blast with them, this is a family game worth playing. In short, the fun outweighs the shortfalls and if the visuals are key, perhaps look at the PS4 version over the Switch. Just don’t play this on your own.