It’s needless to say that the implementation of multiplayer features is one of the most vital foundations of gaming. From its simple beginnings in 1958’s Tennis For Two and 1972’s Pong, all the way to modern online battle royale titles such as Fortnite and PUBG, the ability to play with others in video games has evolved tremendously.
While online multiplayer is now widely considered to be the norm, you’d be forgiven for thinking that local couch co-op modes are becoming increasingly few and far between. Luckily for fans of the old school method of teaming up with/facing off against other players locally, there’s a considerable amount of games that not only support, but also encourage people to play together in close proximity.
The latest of these games is Ball Grabbers.
Described as a “brutal mix between soccer and fighting”, Ball Grabbers sees players face off against each other in one-on-one competition. The aim of the game? Simple; grab the ball and try to hit your opponent’s goal as may times as you can before the timer runs out. Rounds are lightning fast, lasting only a couple of minutes at a time. This speed works in favour of the game, as the rush to hit the goal before the timer hits zerocan lead to some intense situations between players, though it never quite reaches “Mario Party” nuclear levels.
As the game is a local game, players have a choice of playing with gamepads, or they can split a keyboard between them, in true old school PC multiplayer fashion. It’s a nice touch that will undoubtedly go down well with fans of couch co-op.
There’s three characters to choose from with varying stats, so players can go for different approaches in their matches. From overpowering your opponents with brute strength, to zipping around them at high speeds, these change-ups in gameplay style matter.
There are five arenas to play in, each with their own unique features. Players can battle on a beach that contains springboards, a giant chessboard that includes some moose making their way across the stage, a castletop with bombs flying about and more. These added obstacles in the game make things a little bit more exciting, but they don’t occur often enough during the short match times to leave any real impact on the outcome of a game.
The graphics are a definite highlight of Ball Grabbers, and the visual style of the entire experience is reminiscent of the gloriously cartoonish Gang Beasts. The arenas look fantastic, and offer more than enough room for players to try and get one up on their opponents.
While it’s an admirable position to take, the game’s dedication to local multiplayer does limit things somewhat. The game is literally unplayable unless another player is present, and when player 2 is around, pretty much everything in Ball Grabbers can be played through in roughly 15 minutes. Compared to similar games such as Sportsfriends and Stikbold!, Ball Grabbers falls short in an incredibly important area; options and features. The choices to change even the simplest of things like match times and play anything even remotely close to a tournament mode just aren’t there, which severely affects the game’s replay value.
Overall, Ball Grabbers is a fun little game that not only looks great, but feels pretty satisfying to play too, with the game’s simple premise making it accessible to players of any ability and experience. Unfortunately, the game is let down somewhat by its severe lack of features and customisation options. The speed at which the game runs dry is surprisingly fast and, as it currently stands, it all just feels slightly incomplete.
It has the potential to be an absolutely wonderful game, it’s just a shame that there isn’t more to do in it right now.
- Slick visual style.
- Simple gameplay makes it easy for all players to join in.
- Lacks game modes and customisable options
- Low replay value
Ball Grabbers is now available for PC via Steam.
A review code for the game was provided by the developer.
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