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Google's latest doodle is a surprisingly packed Olympics RPG

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From empty stadiums (opens in new tab) to (rightfully) fired composers (opens in new tab) and beyond, this year's Tokyo Olympics are already something of a disaster (opens in new tab). Fortunately, Google's celebratory homepage doodle has given a surprisingly fun collection of arcade minigames in its place.

Appearing on the Google homepage (opens in new tab) this week, the Doodle Champion Island Games is an online sports RPG that sees you joining one of four teams to compete across seven events—archery, artistic swimming, table tennis, marathon, rugby, climbing and skateboarding. Red team, the best team, is currently winning by a long shot.

Each of these takes the form of a pretty solid little minigame. Artistic swimming is framed as a Dance Dance Revolution-style rhythm game, while skateboarding (new to the Olympics this year) is a top-down demake of Tony Hawk's Pro Skater. Each comes with its own, anime-inspired opening cinematic, following a plucky wee cat as they become a multidisciplinary sports master.

Tiny cat, pro skater

(Image credit: Google)

These sports are all hosted within a fairly dense overworld packed with characters, some of which even have a few side-quests to complete. One, for example, sees you running off to fetch water so a poor rhino can finish up their construction work and open up a whole new wing of the map.

Google has experimented with playable doodles in the past, from Jazz-swinging rhythm games (opens in new tab) to competitive ghoul duels (opens in new tab). Champion Island feels like a whole new level of ambitious, though, and is definitely worth checking out while it's up. It's just a shame the event it's tied into has turned into such a mess.

20 years ago, Nat played Jet Set Radio Future for the first time, and she's not stopped thinking about games since. Joining PC Gamer in 2020, she comes from three years of freelance reporting at Rock Paper Shotgun, Waypoint, VG247 and more. Embedded in the European indie scene and a part-time game developer herself, Nat is always looking for a new curiosity to scream about—whether it's the next best indie darling, or simply someone modding a Scotmid into Black Mesa. She also unofficially appears in Apex Legends under the pseudonym Horizon.