Every four years, a particular sporting event known for its five-ringed logo (and scarily litigious copyright protection) rolls round.

For a few weeks, everyone dreams about swimming like a fish, sprinting like a leopard or lifting so much above your head that you wonder if you might at any moment turn green and start yelling HULK SMASH.

But many mere mortals run out of puff when dashing for a train. Fortunately, decades of home gaming have enabled armchair athletes to realise their dreams through digital recreations of running, jumping and hurling sharp sticks through the air.

Sports Hero is the latest take on that  and lets you work up a sweat over six events.

Button masher

We’re not being sarcastic about the sweat bit. Sports Hero has a decidedly retro bent beyond its chunky pixelated graphics.

This is old-school athletics videogaming, devoid of nuance; it harks back to Konami’s Track & Field, where you had to smash a pair of buttons to build up speed or strength and then prod a third button to perform an action.

On a glass touchscreen, this is faintly ridiculous. You will get disapproving looks from anyone that sees you frantically tapping away at your tablet or smartphone like a maniac and letting out a cry of anguish as the computer opponent nicks a win.

Still, Sport Hero’s tactile nature has a way of making you feel involved in the action in a manner that more delicate controls wouldn't manage.

Photo finish

Despite a lack of depth throughout and swipe controls in the swimming event that managed to baffle us during testing, Sports Hero could have won a gold had it not fallen over a hurdle and faceplanted on a track marked ‘freemium’.

The XP required to unlock events is drip-fed at appallingly slow rates and it’ll be a while before you realise you can blaze things along by acquiescing to a coach’s offer of having a break to watch telly (i.e. stream a few ads).

Still, nice touches dotted throughout leave Sports Hero with something shiny. There’s a simultaneous two-player mode, you can swipe between buttons if you’re anti-tapping, and the athlete select screen neatly provides alternate genders, skin tones and nationalities.

If you want to ‘sports all the sports’ but not sit through a billion ads, there’s a one-off IAP to unlock all the disciplines, which fittingly costs the same as the arm-breaking Decathlon did on tape back in the 1980s.

Sports Hero is available for Android and iOS.

Stuff says... 

App of the week: Sports Hero review

Sports Hero is a fun and amusing old-school arcade game that's perfect for giving a few of your digits a thorough workout
₹Free
Good Stuff 
Pleasingly tactile controls
One-device/two-player mode
Six fairly varied events
Bad Stuff 
XP system outside of ads is miserly
Free version is ad-infested
No way to play an entire games