Sportsball is a local multiplayer game inviting up to four players take the reins of exotic birds where they will flap, tackle and dunk balls into the fieldnet for points and glory.
Compete as a squawk jockey across many Sportsball game modes including Duel, Rallyball, andSportsbrawl as 16 distinct birds representing 4 historic international teams.
Sportsball’s most obvious source of inspiration comes from the cult classic Joust. In fact, the game is pretty much Joust, just with a sports feel to it and neon-colored bird-riders. The foundation of the title, then, is quite simple: players tee off against each other in a battle for sportsball court dominance. The setup to get to that point is basic, as well. Players start by choosing between four teams, each of which has four characters that posses their own unique abilities and attributes. Once teams and characters have been chosen, it’s off to a handful of arenas to compete in, what is essentially, a lightning-fast version of soccer — just with the addition of flying birds and jousts meant to knock the ball around. It’s all quite rudimentary on the surface, and appears even more superficial given the game’s two-button system. Though, this accessibility is somewhat illusionary; sure it allows for practically anyone to jump in and start playing immediately, without having to worry about learning many systems; however, once playing the game for more than a few minutes, it’s easy to see that Sportsball is not for the faint of heart. Indeed, it is a game with a truckload of strategic depth, and quite a learning curve to boot.
In fact, it’s that depth and adjustment time that gets in the way of being able to fully enjoy Sportsball, at least right out of the gates. Controlling one’s bird, while straight-forward, takes a lot of getting used to. Because the matches are so quick in nature, even its two-button setup can feel overwhelming, as there’s actually quite a bit more than just hitting two buttons. The only way to score in Sportsball is by knocking a ball into a basket that sits in the middle of the screen. To do that though, one has to be able to line up their shot expertly. Doing this at break-neck speeds is incredibly challenging at first. Taking into account the speed, direction of one’s bird, along with having to repeatedly hit a button to keep one’s bird flapping its wings and using the dive button to rapidly descend on the ball is like informational overload at times.
In other words, on paper Sportsball looks easy enough to grasp; but it’s far from it. That being said, once things start to click, and players’ brains acclimate to the unadulterated chaos that comes with playing alongside three other friends, there’s a great deal of fun to be had. Our contests routinely broke out into shouting matches, interspersed with hearty laughter. We could easily see this being a huge hit at a party, or an good fit for a group of friends wanting some lighthearted, competitive fun offset by good old-fashioned beer-drinking. Although Chasing Aurora has been our favorite indie party game available on the Wii U eShop, Sportsball is giving it a run for its money.
date of release:06.november 2014.