- Developer: Action Button Entertainment, LLC
- Publisher: Iron Galaxy Studios, LLC
- Genre: Sports & Recreation
- Release Date: 13/07/2016
- Platforms: Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC
- Game Supplied by: Xbox
I wasn’t expecting much from Videoball, and even then I came away slightly disappointed. It may not be the developers fault, but once I’d spent a little bit of time in arcade mode (playing against progressively more difficult AI opponents) I then proceeded to wait 15 minutes in both ranked and public solo matchmaking without being able to find a game. As I was playing alone I couldn’t do any local play, so that was my play session over after 45 minutes.
Videoball is basically a top-down football (in the British and American sense, as you hit the ball but can get touchdowns as well?!) game where you control a triangle that fires blasts of triangles towards the ball in order to get it over the line at the opposition’s end of the pitch. It’s quite simple in theory, but add a mechanic for charging up your blasts and also having multiple balls on the pitch it starts to get interesting.
You can charge up your triangle through four phases; phase 1 is a small blast that will either knock the ball forward a little bit, or if you hit another player it will disrupt their charge, phase 2 is a medium blast which, if you hit the ball dead on, will actually hit it a few times in succession moving it along further than a small blast, phase 3 is a large blast which really hits the ball hard and far, and phase 4 is a defensive block so instead of firing a triangle you produce a big square wherever you’re triangle is positioned and this square will take a few hits before it’s destroyed so is a good way of blocking the path of the ball. One little twist though, if someone hits the ball with a large blast then you can hit it with a small blast and it’ll send the ball flying back, but if players keep hitting the ball it’ll carry on flying around the pitch until it either ends up in one of the goals/end zones, or someone doesn’t hit it for a couple of seconds.
When I booted the game up I was pleasantly surprised by the soundtrack/effects, it had a slight nostalgic feel to it. One slightly annoying thing though was the announcement of “Videoball” every time I went to the main menu, now you might not think that’s bad, but when you’re initially trying to search the menus for the best way to get online you end up (well, I did anyway) having to come back to the main menu a few times over. My confusion arose from having an online option for solo, and one for team. I assume that solo would be for one on one and team would be for, well, more than one on one. Turns out it relates to the number of people you’re playing with, so I could only choose solo (otherwise matchmaking wouldn’t work). I tried both ranked and public but neither returned any results.
So as I said above, my only real experience with Videoball was in arcade mode which basically puts you in a match with a couple of AI opposition where you play a first to 10 match. Once you win, you can progress to the next level. The first match I played was with one AI player who didn’t respond at all until the ball was in their third of the pitch (final third to me), and another who only responded when the ball was in the center third, this was quite a good idea as it let me get to grips with the controls but that didn’t take long so it actually made the game slow and boring quite quickly. I managed to get through 4 pretty similar matches with slightly different AI mechanics (one player who would always use medium blasts, another who would always use large blasts) before I’d had enough and tried matchmaking again, again with no success.
Ironically in the game description I saw the line “Videoball: it’s all a highlight reel”, I say ironically because I was expecting a highlight playback after each goal but got nothing. Maybe I’m just too use to it from playing so much FIFA and Rocket League, but I couldn’t help feeling like highlights should have been there.
Maybe I just got unlucky with matchmaking and the servers weren’t working properly, or maybe there was literally no-one around to play with, but I can’t not be disappointed by Videoball. Even if I could get online for a match I couldn’t see this game lasting very long before I switched over to something else, it just seems way too limited to keep someone entertained for more than an hour or two especially when games like Rocket League have so much going for them.