With the aid of its Indie Pub Fund and a number of successful releases under its belt (including Dyad and The Unfinished Swan), Sony’s independent gaming push will be continuing well into 2013. There are a number of superb titles that are incoming, including Hotline Miami (which we’ll preview with a hands-on tomorrow), Luftrausers and DiveKick.
Among the various indie titles, Superfriends has as much potential as any. For the past couple of years the team of Douglas Wilson, Ramiro Corbetta, Bennett Foddy and Noah Sasso have been working on a quartet of simple yet addictively entertaining multiplayer affairs. Some are a bit weirder than you might expect from one-on-one contests, but we can easily say that they’re well worth looking forward to, especially if you have buddies nearby that can join in with you.
So let’s look at each game and see what they’re bringing to the PlayStation Network this Fall…
Hokra (Ramiro Corbetta)
Hokra combines the simplicity of a Pong-like game with the pure ferocity of close-contact sports like soccer and hockey. The game has a total of four players, each designated to a colored side as they compete to score goals in squares places in the corners of the screen. The name of the game is trying to steal the little ball that will be shot into the goals, mainly by running into them.
On offense, you can perform tactical moves like circling to avoid contact or passing to your nearby teammate. On defense, you hustle to intercept a ball that’s been shot off or just piain go for the steal.
Though the game doesn’t have a deep set of moves when it comes to steals, Hokra brings a nostalgic bit of charm to multiplayer efforts. Here’s hoping it supports online multiplayer matches via PlayStation Network, because we can easily put together a league from something like this.
Super Pole Riders (Bennett Foddy)
Next up we have the latest from Bennett Foddy, the creator of the single most frustrating yet hilarious game on the computer front: QWOP. Super Pole Riders works much easier, even though the controls rely on a similar physics model.
The game has two players, each with poles. Hanging above them is a ball that you have to continuously push towards a goal on the other side of the stage. On offense, you’ll perform a number of moves as you push the ball with your stick. Defensively, your opponent will try to stop you with some absurd moves of their own while trying to get the ball into their goal. Competitive? You bet, but it’s also quite funny.
There were times during our session that we were able to knock over enemies with a simple shove or even knock them into the air with the help of the pole. It doesn’t hurt to get a little violent in this game. Though the controls aren’t perfect, they’re suitable enough for anyone to get into. You’ll also make a lot more progress than you ever could in QWOP.
Barabariball (Noah Sasso)
Take a game that has the set-up of Super Smash Bros. but the scoring concept of a typical soccer game and mash it all together with 8-bit style graphics. The end result is the latest from Noah Sasso: Barabariball. Despite the confusing name, the game provides a whole lot of enjoyment.
In Barabariball players compete against one another on a stage, running around on platforms while trying to keep control of a glowing ball. Beneath them is a sea in two different colors, one for each team. The goal is to shoot your ball into the water to score a point and the most points wins. However, opponents can dive after balls and keep them from falling in the water or pass it to a teammate for a quick score, in a multiplayer match.
Though it does look basic than most PSN fare, Barabariball is a blast. Here’s hoping that it too has an online multiplayer set-up on PSN. Between this and Hokra, we’d easily have some heated contests in the office…
Johann Sebastian Joust (Douglas Wilson)
Finally, we have a game that got the most attention during our hands-on time. We like this game not only because of its uniqueness, but because it is the most ideal use of PlayStation Move controllers we have seen in some time.
In Johann Sebastian Joust you have up to four players who slowly walk around in order to keep up with the pace of a song that’s playing on the PlayStation 3. Move too fast and you’re eliminated from the match, and as the song progresses, it picks up in tempo and you’re forced to move along with it or risk losing the round.
There’s a catch and it’s with multiplayer competition. If you have a player you’re going up against that can make you flinch, you can easily jar your hand and force yourself out of the match. On the other hand, you too can try to “fake out” your opponents (without touching them) and throw them off.
It’s a fantastic effort as you can see from this trailer. Out of all the games, we could see this becoming a favorite.
With its success on KickStarter, the Sportsfriends package will no doubt be a huge draw for PSN subscribers this fall. If it sells significantly enough, we could be seeing even bigger follow-ups on the PlayStation 4 down the road. Here’s hoping…
All four games in the Sportsfriends package arrive this Fall.