Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts


Review: Sportsfriends

9:00 AM on 05.06.2014 // Chris Carter

An uneven friendship

Sportsfriends is another example of a last-minute Kickstarter save. Although it didn't look like it was going to get funded, fans came together on the final stretch and gave the game a chance -- which leads us into the PS3 and PS4 release this month.

So was it worth the wait? Well that depends on how much you want to play Johann Sebastian Joust.

Sportsfriends (PC, PS3, PS4 [reviewed])
Developer: Die Gute Fabrik
Publisher: Die Gute Fabrik
Release Date: May 6, 2014
MSRP: $14.99

Sportsfriends is an offline-only multiplayer-only game featuring four events. First up is Barabariball, which is basically a minimalistic fighting game mixed with volleyball. There are multiple characters to choose from (light, medium, and heavy), as well as different special attacks that can be charged by holding down the Square button. The object is to smack or throw a ball into your opponent's goal, which happens to be a giant color-coded ocean that the ball has to sink through.

There's a decent amount of variety here with Barabariball, as it features the aforementioned three characters and seven levels. I was surprised at the depth as well, since jumps are limited by a power bar, so you can't just go willy-nilly -- you have to strategically time them. Even so, its appeal is limited. After 10 or so games it started to feel far too similar despite said depth, mostly because the levels aren't really all that different, and there aren't many variations of the same exact event. This game needs at least two controllers, with support for up to four players.

Super Pole Riders is the next part of the package, and it's my clear-cut least favorite game. It's centered around pole vaulting, with separate controls for each vaulter and the actual stick they are carrying. Using hardcore pole physics, you'll have to get a ball (attached to a horizontal string) to your opponent's side by leading it with your pole or jump kicking it with a sweet pole vault. It's a very similar concept to Barabari, but a lot less fun since there's no real "fighting" element in addition to the sport itself -- or anything to make it feel unique, really.

The concept of waving your pole around feels inherently slower, but not any more complex than handling a fighter in Barabariball, and the four levels blend together even more here than anywhere else. It makes sense that it's from the creator of QWOP, but where that game was more of a novelty that you could play for a few minutes for free, you're expected to actually pay for Pole Riders. It supports four players by way of teams, and thankfully you can share a controller with someone else -- which allows two players to game on one controller, or four players to play on two controllers.

Hokra is the last "traditional videogame" of the lot, and functions as a minimalist pixelated version of soccer (sort of). You control a tiny pixel (think of them as soccer players) as you attempt to grab a neutral ball and "hold" it in your goal for a certain period of time -- once your score is at a certain level, you win. As you can imagine, other players are attempting to stop you at all times, and by bumping another pixel, you can steal the ball.

The boards look like the classic Atari game Warlords, and the strategy is mostly a variation of "keep away," and "king of the hill" as you attempt to pass the ball to your partner and away from your opponents. I had a decent amount of fun through Hokra's eight levels, mostly because you can create more using a level editor if you get bored of what it has to offer -- this is something that would have come in handy with the above two events. With Hokra, you need four players, but like Super Pole Riders you can share controllers.

All in all these three games are good fun with the right company, but really, you're going to want to buy this for the incredibly famous Johann Sebastian Joust. If you haven't heard, Joust is a very non-traditional game, and it's been taking nearly every convention across the world by storm. Using either a Dualshock or a Move controller, you'll stand with a number of people in a circle (yes, in real life). Once the game starts, it's your job to jostle your opponent's controller -- if the game senses too much movement, they're "out." It's kind of like a physical game of tag, in a sense, and it's a ton of fun.

Sportsfriends' version of Joust happens to be completely decked out, offering up more options than all of the other games combined. You can queue up different announcer voices for the game like its creator, the creators of the other Sportsfriends games, or even the Stanley Parable announcer and Rucks -- the voice of Bastion. There are extra cheat code options, speed-ups, freezes, teams, invincibility options (you press L2/R2 to use a power-up on a timer), extra life options, resurrection powers, and a whole lot more.

You can even allow eliminated players to control and conduct the music. It's by far the most interesting and complex game on offer here, and it's a wonderful party game in general. Joust supports up to seven players on the PS3, but due to a hardware limitation, only four are supported on the PS4. Playing with a Move is ideal, since the light goes out when you're eliminated, which makes things easier. If you're using a Dualshock, it'll rumble heavily to let you know you're out.

One thing you may have picked up about Sportsfriends by now -- you cannot play any of them by yourself or online. Destructoid's policy is to review what's actually in a game (and thus, not subtracting points for what's not in it), but it's something to keep in mind -- especially when you realize that Hokra requires four players at a minimum.

While I understand indie developers often work with less resources, and lag can often ruin online experiences, it's not like the three digital events are that complex or competitive, to the point where people couldn't enjoy them online in some capacity -- even with lag. Other games like Samurai Gunn also offer some form of concession for solo players, even if it's a limited AI mode, so a complete lack of anything single player related feels like a missed opportunity.

Despite the fact that I don't think I'll be playing Barabariball or Super Pole Riders for very long, Hokra's level editor gives it legs, and Johann Sebastian Joust shouldn't be missed by anyone who enjoys having company over. It's a very uneven package in the sense that there could have either been a few more games and a few could have been better, but honestly -- $15 isn't a terrible price just for Joust alone.



Sportsfriends - Reviewed by Chris Carter
Likable - That's a seven, which is actually a different number than five. It's more than ok. We like this game. I don't want to play it every day forever and ever, but it's definitely worth the time I invested in it, and I'll be picking it up again to relive the fun sometime down the line.

See more reviews or the Destructoid score guide.

Chris Carter, Reviews Director
 Follow Blog + disclosure DtoidChris Tips
Chris (Magnalon) has been enjoying Destructoid avidly since 2008. He finally decided to take the next step, make an account, and start blogging in January of 2009. Now, he's staff! -----------... more   |   staff directory

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

destructoid's previous coverage:

  Nov 08

J.S. Joust and three others team up for Sportsfriends

Multiplayer-centric collection targeting PS3, PC, Mac, and Linux

View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:

Please contact Crave Online, thanks!

Insidia REVIEW - A whole dark, gloomy, and kinda creepy world to explore

DS REVIEWS: Trace Memory

Sharp cut Digital Flatbed Cutter | Sharpcut Flatbed Cutters

Things I'm Thankful For

Cblogs of 11/25/15 + Turkey N Stuff

Cheat Codes Podcast - Ep. 73: Stay Classy

NVGR: Updated Album "ADBC" (No longer an EP)

Fun2Play: Downwell

So that just happened: The Talos Principle

 Add your impressions

Status updates from C-bloggers

KeithTheGeek avatarKeithTheGeek
GUYS HELP I KEEP BUYING MORE AMIIBO. Today it was Little Mac, since he went back up on Gamestop's website. I probably would have gotten Captain Falcon as well if I wasn't already running a little short on cash.
BigDoniel avatarBigDoniel
50 hours in and I can safely say that Xenoblade is the best JRPG I've played in years. Should hopefully be finished in time for X too!
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
One job down on day I should have off, now for the other job.
CoilWhine avatarCoilWhine
I beat Murasaki Baby on PS Vita. Easy 100% trophy. That ending theme tho.
TheGwailo avatarTheGwailo
I have 34 games in my Steam queue alone, 4 on xbone, and a handful on handhelds. I have 3 days to make a dent. Time's up, let's do this!
Archelon avatarArchelon
Community Question: To make up for yesterday, I decided to ask a second Community Question today. Have you taken advantage of any Black Friday deals today? If so, what did you purchase? Feel free to share pictures of your spoils, if you have any.
Jiraya avatarJiraya
Some Black Friday artwork arrived today ! [img][/img]
Lawman avatarLawman
Black Friday is getting to me. All these games I kinda, maybe want that are at anywhere between respectable and deep discounts, but I'm not sure if I want to bite. I'm wondering if Godzilla's worth $12? After checking review scores, I'm not sure.
Amna Umen avatarAmna Umen
Mission complete![IMG][/IMG]
Serethyn avatarSerethyn
Black Friday slowly seems to creep its way onto Continental Europe, but I'm not complaining! I managed to get my grubby little paws on a new physical copy of The Wonderful 101 for €20! Thanks, America!
Archelon avatarArchelon
Community Question: Since I missed yesterday, I am going to do something a little different today. Are there any questions you would like to ask me for a change? If so, please feel free. I may add a second Community Question later today, as well.
RexterNathan avatarRexterNathan
Isn't PES 2016 Free-to-Play model just the demo with extra crap thrown in?
Fenriff avatarFenriff
Damn Gumo, you cold as fuck. [img][/img]
Atleastimhousebroken avatarAtleastimhousebroken
While partially responsible for one of the biggest jokes in the metal, Cold Lake by Celtic Frost, Curt Bryant is doing the soundtrack to the game Slain!. I'm digging the shitty garage band vibe.
LinkSlayer64 avatarLinkSlayer64
How is the Lightening thread STILL GETTING COMMENTS!?!?!? P.S. I am trying to make Chex Mix, but we lost my special recipe I custom designed. sucks man.
Torchman avatarTorchman
Got a deal on a Surface Pro 3 model that I wanted. Now I just need a deal on a PS TV in Canada and I'm golden.
FlanxLycanth avatarFlanxLycanth
If you in the UK, don't have a PS4 and don't mind buying used/display goods there's a few reconditioned PS4 (12 month warranty) on amazon for £199.
SirDavies avatarSirDavies
my dilemma this black friday is a PS4 for bloodborne and little else or like half the games on my steam wishlist. I know in my heart which one I'm going to pick.
El Dango avatarEl Dango
"You had all the lasagna you could ever eat, yet you kept going!" "This isn't about the lasagna anymore, Jon, and I didn't come this far just to quit! Tonight, I'm making sure my name will go down in history!"
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
Got DeSu2 Break Record from GS' Black Friday sale ($29.99). Love the Arrange CD. It's been far too long since I heard Meguro do something that wasn't tied to Persona. Also grabbed an extra copy of Freedom Wars since they were $5.
more quickposts



Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -