The PlayStation 4 is quickly becoming the go-to console for local multiplayer games: Towerfall Ascension, Cel Damage HD and That Trivia Game all provide the foundation for an amazing Saturday night with friends. Now, thanks to Die Gute Fabrik, we can add another game to this list: Sportsfriends.
If you're looking for the penultimate party game on the PlayStation 4, look no further than Sportsfriends.
Sportsfriends is a collection of four local multiplayer games, designed for two to four players per game. In fact, there isn't any single player modes to be found in the entire package: This is a purely multiplayer affair, and one without online either. If you don't have any local friends, this game won't be for you. Sportsfriends aims for a very specific audience and the game is all the better for this laser tight focus.
As mentioned earlier, Sportsfriends is a collection of four games, each playing very differently but all revolving around a single theme: sports.
Super Pole Riders
From the creator of QWOP comes Super Pole Riders, another entry in the fumblecore genre (previously seen on the PS4 with Octodad). The goal of Super Pole Riders is to hit the ball to your opponent's side, but there's a twist: controlling your character is difficult due to the actual physics at play. If you've played Octodad, you know what to expect here.
Super Pole Riders isn't something you can take seriously: You'll likely stop caring about score and instead laugh at the hilarious antics of the on-screen characters. For some people, the game will be frustrating but for most, it will be a blast.
Super Pole Riders can be played with two or four players. If four players are playing, they will be split into teams of two. As an added bonus, you can share controllers in Super Pole Riders.
Baribariball is best described as Super Smash Brothers meets volleyball. The objective is to smash a ball into your opponent's goal using a variety of special attacks. While Super Pole Riders doesn't have many options to choose from, Baribariball includes multiple playable characters and levels. The game features a layer of depth you see in most fighting games, as match-ups become more about critical thinking than fast reflexes. While Super Pole Riders is more about laughter than competitiveness, Baribariball is more for the ultra competitive crowd.
Like most fighting or sports games, Baribariball is a game that changes with every match due to the nature of human thinking and is something that can be played again and again.
Baribariball can be played with two or four players. If four players are playing, they will be split into teams of two.
At first glance, it's hard to determine how exactly Hokra fits in with the sports theme of the package. However, after playing it, you'll see its soccer roots shine through. The objective in Hokra is to keep the ball away from other players, scoring points the longer you hold onto the ball in your respective area.
Hokra is as simple to describe as it is simple looking, but that doesn't make it any less fun. In addition, Hokra comes with a level editor so you can create your own levels, giving it far more replayability than the previous two games.
Unfortunately, Hokra requires four players to play, but like Super Pole Riders, you can share controllers.
Johann Sebastian Joust
Johann Sebastian Joust, called Joust from here on in, is the real draw of the package. This multiplayer game is so amazing, and such a great time, that you'll look at the previous three games as merely a bonus. The ironic part is that Joust is the least game-like feature of the whole package.
In Joust, up to four players stand up and each grabs a controller: either a DualShock 4 or a PlayStation Move. The objective of this game is to then jostle the other player's controller through physical contact, but the game isn't that easy: you can only move as fast the tempo of the music. When the music freezes, you must freeze lest you knock yourself out of the game. When the music speeds up, you can move faster and more recklessly as you attempt to hit other player's controllers.
Joust has a full bevy of options to choose from, such as changing the announcer's voice (which includes the famous narrator from Bastion), enabling power-ups, setting teams, and more.
It's a physical game, but one that never seems unfair: smaller, more agile players don't have an advantage as the premise of the game puts everyone on equal ground. If you're anything like my group of friends, it's best to clear out a large area of space as this game will likely get a bit violent.
Joust is the ultimate party game.
It's hard to define Sportsfriends as a game, but it's definitely a party experience. If you're the type of gamer who frequently has guests over and you don't mind getting a bit physical, this collection is worth a purchase for Joust alone. Gamers and non-gamers are all on equal footing in this package, making it one of the most perfect party games on not only the PS4, but any system.
The PlayStation 4 is all about providing unique, fun experiences and Sportsfriends definitely qualifies. It won't be for everyone, and the games have varying lengths of replayability, but if you're looking for one of the most fun local multiplayer experiences in your gaming life then give Sportsfriends a try.
Final Score: 8/10
A copy of this game was provided to PS4 Experts by Die Gute Fabrik for review purposes.
Article by - Joshua Phillips
Insert Date: 5/7/2014