Sportsfriends is a wonderful thing. Bringing back local multiplayer games is something Horrible Night will blindly support until the game itself causes physical altercations between all of us. Granted I would have bought Sportsfriends for Super Pole Riders alone, but the collection is solid across the board. BaraBariBall though, that was the big question mark for me. I assumed it would be fun because it was keeping such good company with the other games, but after playing the alpha version a while back (admittedly after being awake for 30 hours straight for a charithy marathon) I “didn’t get it.”
Luckily, I didn’t write off the game completely because once I grabbed a couch with some reasonable gamers who were reasonably lubricated by the effects of tasty adult beverages, BaraBariBall quickly had us screaming at another for rematches.
I’m gonna take my ball and drown you with it
BaraBariBall is a one-on-one 2D platformer/fighter that centers around a ball. Your goal is to dunk the ball in the water on your opponents side of the stage to get a point. If you fall into the water at any time, you will lose a point. Your character has the ability to fight off your opponent with melee moves, but your most important ability is your finite allotment of jumps. You have 7 jumps to start and the jumps will recharge when you aren’t using them. This gives you a lot of options when bouncing around the stage to track down the ball or beat down your the enemy. However, even when you have the full 7 jumps available you’ll find yourself wanting one or two more as you fall to your death and losing that point you just scored.
It’s more important to have a good escape plan over a scoring attack. It’s even better to be able to counter your opponent’s escape plan. I had more fun playing defensively and crushing my opponents spirit. Let them score, but make them take an extra jump or two to accomplish it. Then, knock them back into the water before they can recover. By the time they are done yelling at you for your tactics, they’ve forgotten to react to the new ball in play and you’ve scored again.
Screw your opponent enough, and you’ll find the game shifts to an all out brawl. The ball takes a back seat to the fighting and only comes into play when your opponent is falling to their death. As the game swings back and forth between amazing saves and risky scores, the demand for one more match grows. Suddenly, a game that we weren’t sure we understood at all became the game we had been playing for 90 minutes straight in a room now full of people who used to be friends, but would never co-op together again because they are all cheaters a terrible people.
Sportsfriends with BaraBariBall is available on PS3/PS4 and is coming soon to PC.
Reflex Review – Like a memorable meal, some games make a big enough impression that you’ve got to tell other people about them before they’re fully digested.