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Videoball – PAX East 2016 Hand-On Preview

From Action Button and Iron Galaxy Studios comes another contender in the blossoming “alt-sports” genre, Videoball. The game follows Rocket League‘s formula of asking players to perform an uncomplicated task (put the ball in the end zone) by unconventional means that could only exist in a video game. While visually much simpler than Rocket League, Videoball borrows concepts from hockey, football and basketball, instead of just one single sport. “Why does NBA Jam even have to look like basketball?” asks Lead Developer Tim Rogers.

videoball - bagogames

Videoball / Action Studios & Iron Galaxy Studios

 

In Videoball, you control a triangle from a top-down perspective. While the basic map resembles a football field, there are currently over 30 different maps, varying in size and shape. The objective is to simply put the ball in the opposing team’s end zone by shooting at it. As your projectiles are triangles themselves, skilled players can use them to angle shots and bank off walls. You can also shoot your opponents, which destroys them and causes them to respawn after a brief moment. That last major dynamic of the game that allows for another level of strategy is that by holding down the fire button, shots can be charged up to three different power levels, making them stronger. By holding down the fire button past the 3rd charge level, you created a large, solid block. The block can then be moved and placed around the map for the purpose of blocking an area.

Frustrated by a lack of modern sports arcade titles, the 4-person development studio, Action Button Entertainment have attempted to create a type of game more akin to pool or ping-pong than your average, narrative-filled video game.  “The characters in Videoball are the players, the game itself is just the play space,” says Rogers.

Games can range from 1v1 to 3v3 and various rules, such as goal size, number of balls, time, final score, barriers, and different points for varying shots (3 points for distance shots, for example) can all be tweaked by players. The final game, which should be available for a “very low price,” will also include ranked modes and leaderboards. All modes will be playable online, but of course I was only able to play locally during the show. Videoball is very easy to grasp, but provides players with enough nuanced abilities to create the dynamic situations that make arcade sport games great. Look for it late this August on Steam, Xbox One and PlayStation 4.

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