VideoBall Review (PC)
Videoball is truly unique, and you wouldn't be blamed for failing to grasp the idea after laying eyes on it for the first time. However, the control scheme is ingeniously basic, meaning anyone can pick up a controller and get involved.
The objective is simple: send balls into the opponent’s goal. This is achieved by maneuvering your player with the analog stick, while any other button on the controller allows you to unleash mini-triangle attacks. If a triangle comes into contact with the ball, the ball will move. It might not sound like it, but there’s a lot of depth to this system. You can hold the button longer to unleash more powerful triangular strikes, or set up blocks in front of your goal. You can also attack other players and unleash deadly rebounds all with the same button.
In fact, there’s so much you can do in a game of Videoball that it’s easy to feel overwhelmed in the first few hours of gameplay, despite its perceived simplicity. For those with perseverance, the game’s strategical side opens up, and you’ll find yourself pulling off tactical works of genius in order to achieve glory before long. Once you're up to speed with the basics, games become tense-filled episodes of mayhem, especially when adding more players and balls into the mix. You’ll laugh, get frustrated, and spend large periods of time staring intently at the screen without pausing to blink. Most importantly, you'll have fun.
"In fact, there’s so much you can do in a game of Videoball that it’s easy to feel overwhelmed in the first few hours of gameplay..."
The biggest downside to Videoball’s gameplay presents itself in the form of the offline AI. There’s nothing quite as rage-inducing as your own player ruining your perfect shot by getting in the way, or worse, shooting directly at you. Additionally, opposing AI players often ignore perfect scoring opportunities in favor of attacking you, appearing to carry out some kind of personal vendetta. None of this is game-breaking, but the AI is far from perfect.
Game Modes & Presentation
There are three game modes in Videoball. You’ll probably be spending most of your time in local, which gives the option of anything from 1 vs. 1 to 3 vs. 3 games, with a combination of human and AI players allowed. The best part about this mode is that it’s entirely customizable. There's a diverse selection of arenas, and you can also change the game rules, music, backgrounds and more. There's a multitude of options at your disposal, making it perfect for creating your own house rules with friends.
Arcade is tailored primarily towards solo players, and it sees you taking on a variety of challenges against the AI. It’s a progressive mode that’ll keep you engaged for a short while, and although it is frustratingly unfair at times, that's arguably part of its charm. Finally, there’s online, which is sparsely populated on the Xbox One at the time of writing, much to my disappointment. However, I'm happy to report that in my brief online encounters, lag was totally non-existent. If you can't get a bunch of friends together, online play is easily the next best thing.
In terms of presentation, the game looks and sounds like a early '90s classic. Menus are bright, bold and filled with nostalgia-inducing sound effects. In-game music is catchy and diverse, while both announcers' obsessions with everything to do with Videoball are subtly hilarious. The games themselves are visually explosive experiences that will spark the interest of gamers and non-gamers alike.
If you regularly engage in local multiplayer sessions, Videoball deserves to make its way into your rotation. It shines brightest in this setting, and while solo players will still have fun with it, they won’t unlock its true potential. If this game had been released 30 years ago, we'd still be talking about it today. Whether it'll have the same effect in 2016 and beyond remains to be seen, but either way, it's an indie gem that's worth your time and money.
Score: 8.0 (Great)