Video Game Night: Quick Reviews Volume 4 – Sports Edition

Rocket League

While I know many people are familiar with Rocket League, I am proud to say that I was playing the game during Beta when it first released. A couple of friends and I picked it up on a whim because it was cheap and looked like fun. We instantly fell in love with the game, playing it for hours and hours every night. Rocket League is a game with a very simple concept: control a car and play soccer with that car. However, because it’s a car and because it’s a video game, your car can boost up and fly, flip, and demolish other cars in an attempt to play the game. Back in the early days, the game had a very simple player base, it sometimes taking up to 30 minutes to find a game at almost any rank. We started out as very poor players, flailing about and pretending like we knew what we were doing. Over time, and 2000+ hours of gameplay later, we had all improved exponentially, our games becoming more and more intense as we increased in skill…along with the thousands and thousands of other players that also scaled with us. Nowadays, I’ve fallen off in my skill as I never switched to a controller (which I have personally seen is the far greater tool when playing the game). Thankfully, the game has implemented so many more aspects than when I first played. First, there are several different gamemodes. There is a basketball version, hockey, a mode called dropshot, rumble (a gamemode with powerups), workshop capabilities, and more. There are customizable training modules that you can make to improve your gameplay and a ton of customization options for your car ranging from the paint, decal, tires, boost, flags, hats, goal explosions, and more. It is easily the most mechanically difficult game I’ve ever played, and it induces more rage than joy for me now, but it’s a game I will never forget and always go back to when I want to play a few five minute games to kill some time.

Rocket League is now Free to Play and was developed by Psyonix. It is available for PC, PS4, Xbox One, Mac, Nintendo Switch, and PS5.

Super Mega Baseball: Extra Innings

Anybody that knows me well knows of my passionate love for the game of baseball. I played baseball for a majority of my young life, am a hardcore fan of the St. Louis Cardinals, and will forever think of baseball as my all time favorite sport and game. I played a ton of MLB The Show when I owned a PS3 back in the day, but the PC doesn’t really offer baseball games that aren’t managerial or simulation games. Because of that, I was able to find a cutesy game on Steam called Super Mega Baseball: Extra Innings (SMB) a few years ago, and it was a great purchase. SMB has been one of those games that doesn’t really fill the urge to play baseball but satiates you enough to help start filling in that void. The game was made with cutesy characters that you can develop, train, change out, customize, and more. The game plays much better on a controller than it does on a mouse and keyboard, but either way works just fine. You can play out seasons by creating a team, recruiting players, training them, customize them, and win out championships. The mechanics for the actual game of baseball are cheesier than a normal baseball game, but all of the rules and styles are consistent with baseball rules. I can never play the game for hours on end like I could with MLB The Show, but if you’re looking to play a fun little challenging baseball game while adhering to the cuter graphics you’re used to seeing on the Nintendo Switch, then it’s the perfect game for you.

SMB: Extra Innings was developed by Metalhead Software and is available on PC, PS3, PS4, and Xbox One.

Punch Club

I’ve never been a fan of watching boxing (although I do like watching MMA), but I have always thoroughly enjoyed boxing video games. In my college years, I spent many hours in my dad’s basement playing the Fight Night games on my Playstation, so I wanted to find something that translated well on PC. I never really found a game that I enjoyed that was like Fight Night (although some of them do exist), but I instead found a game that was like boxing and simulation, two genres I’ve always enjoyed. Punch Club puts you in control of a boxer whose father was murdered. Your boxer wants to find out who murdered his father while also continuing on the path and road toward becoming the best boxer in the league. You manage your boxer with time in the game moving forward while you do activities like train, sleep, eat, do odd jobs for people, and box. You level up the attributes of your fighter, unlock new boxing skills, and meet friends and associates that help you discover who murdered your father. The game is more managerial than it is boxing action, especially because the fights aren’t interactive and play out automatically with your chosen skills/attributes and the same from the AI controlled opponent. It’s more a strategy game than it is a boxing game, but that doesn’t make it any less fun.

Punch Club was developed by Lazy Bear Games and is available on PC, iOS, Android, Nintendo 3DS, PS4, and Xbox One.

ShellShock Live

Okay, this one is a little cheaty as it’s not necessarily a sports game. However, I like to think of the game as a Volleyball style game with tanks and explosions. The premise of the game is that you take control of a small tank, have an arsenal of weapon types available, and then play a back and forth game on a 2-dimensional screen of try to blow up the other tanks of the screen. You can play on teams, have a free for all, or just do a good old fashioned 1v1. It’s like playing Pong on the Atari, but instead of it being a paddle knocking a ball back and forth, you’re a tank shooting all different kinds of shots with varying effects and degrees of difficulty. You can move around the screen, get stuck in little craters, fire off impossible sniper shots, shoot giant AoE (Area of Effect) shots, and try to win. As you level up through gameplay, you’ll unlock more maps to choose from, different styles for your tank, a skill tree to upgrade your tank, and a TON of different shots to choose from and add to your arsenal. This game was never meant to be a AAA Game of the Year type game, but instead, a simple game that began as a Flash and Java based browser game was instead developed into something massively entertaining and excruciatingly addicting. ShellShock Live is one of the games me and my friends return to when we need to kill time and just have some hilarious fun in the meantime.

ShellShock Live was developed by kChamp Games and is available on PC, Mac, PS4, and Xbox One.

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