That’s the word I’d use if I could get away with reviewing Videoball with just one word. Since the internet dictates that I write a sizeable chunk of text for this to really qualify as a review, let me expand a little.
Videoball, on paper, sounds like a turd. I’ll be honest and say that the first time I was told about Videoball, I didn’t really care for it. Then when I saw it in action, I knew I needed to play it. It’s a simple concept: Two opposing teams have to get the ball/balls into the other team’s goal. Sounds like 90% of the ball-based games I know of.
But there’s a twist. You’re not a person, a sportsman, or an athlete. No, there’s no realism here; you’re a triangle. Think of Asteroids, and if you’re too young to know what Asteroids is, go back to thinking about a triangle. You control your triangle by moving the analogue stick around and you play the ball around the arena by firing off smaller triangles, though you can charge your shots by holding the ‘fire’ button which will fire out a bigger triangle that will push the ball along further, or you can hold it even longer to fire out what I like to call a ‘super triangle.’
The super triangle launches the ball across the screen at high-speed. There’s a little more to it than just that though, as you can tactically charge your shots and fire them at the other team to send them floating around aimlessly for a second or two. Also, if you charge a super triangle and send a ball flying, it will knock any players in its path away unless they fire back at it, which causes it to continue its journey at high-speed. It’s bonkers, and when you throw two or three balls into the mix it becomes chaotic fun that’s hard to not love.
Appearances can be deceiving; just look at me as a prime example: I look like a bit of a pleb but I’m actually pretty smart. Videoball looks like a cheap and nasty motion game for the Wii, one of those that gets bundled in with those horrible 20-in-1 packs. It hasn’t got the realistic graphics of FIFA, or the complex ball play of Street Hockey 16 (that’s a game, yeah?) but it doesn’t need it. The graphics are basic but they get the job done and, in my opinion, they add to the game’s unique flavour. Solid shapes with solid colours are more than enough for this game.
The game’s audio is also very well done. I’m not really a big fan of video game music (The Killers would improve every game by 47.5%) but I actually really enjoyed the retro-pop feel to the funky tunes that play over. While the music is top-notch, the same can be said about the announcer that voices over the game. Every time a goal is scored, the announcer chimes in with something like “touch down” or “TD” or “happy birthday!” – yes, it’s silly and it’s fun. I love it. Not to mention at the end of the game she utters the most satisfying “that’s Videoball.” What can I say? I’m easily pleased.
For single player fans there’s an Arcade Mode that slowly eases you into the game. If you play by yourself, you’ll literally be on your own team going up against an opposing force of two. At first it’s easy peasy but it does get harder the further your progress. I’ll be honest and admit that I haven’t even finished the Arcade Mode because it got to a point where I just couldn’t win. Yes, I quit. Get over it. It was 1 vs 2 for goodness sake…
Anyway, that’s not the real allure of Videoball; the multiplayer is. Oh my lordy. I managed to play around 15 online matches before release and I think I won around five or six of them. No, I wasn’t the best player, but someone has to lose, right? Taking on the computer controlled A.I is one thing, but to go against actual humans that think and strategise brings Videoball into its own level. Games can be fast and frantic or slow, tense, and calculated, depending on how your and your opponents choose to play. It’s not easy to really put it into words and I’m struggling to find the right way of doing it justice. All I can really say is: Awesome.
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