Gone are the days when split-screen gameplay reigned supreme. Over time, the exhilaration of sitting on a couch within punching-distance of your friends has given way to the simplicity of online gaming. While both have their own distinct advantages, many gamers still yearn for those bygone days of couch-based glory. Luckily for them, Sportsfriends is on its way to bring the spirit of competition back in the wackiest way possible.
Sportsfriends can best be looked at as a compilation of the latest and greatest in local indie multiplayer. Joining the ranks of instant classics like Nidhogg, TowerFall: Ascension and Dive Kick, this compilation introduces gamers to four award-winning titles that have made the journey from small indie gaming gatherings, to slightly larger indie gaming gatherings, to the floor of PAX Prime.
The first game on offering is BariBariBall, a high-speed game where players are tasked with fighting one another in a fashion reminiscent of a simplified Super Smash Bros. in order to control a ball and score on the opposing team’s net. Following this, is Super Pole Riders which takes a cue from QWOP with its flail-friendly motion, which has players pole vaulting into the air to knock a tethered ball into the opposite side of the screen.
The third game available in Sportsfriends is Hokra, a minimalist, high-velocity reduction of sports games where players dash around the screen attempting to propel the ball into one of the opposing team’s scoring zones. Capping off the package is Johann Sebastian Joust which gets players out of their seats and has them utilizing their Move or Dualshock 3 controllers. The goal is to hold your own controller as steady as possible within an invisible zone while lashing out in an attempt to disturb your opponents’ controllers, knocking them out of their own designated zones.
The complete Sportsfriends package comes as a product of Sony’s Pub Fund program which encourages indie developers to self-publish on the company’s platforms. Past Pub Fund titles include the likes of Guacamelee! and Joe Danger, and if those games’ success is any indication, it’s no surprise that the PS4 and Vita have become bastions for indie content.
With so many gamers lamenting the ever-dwindling number of local multiplayer experiences, Sportsfriends looks like it could help usher back in the couch multiplayer experiences of yore. While there are no doubt advantages associated with online play, it’s hard to compete with the chaos and pure, unadulterated fun that comes from getting a group of friends together in one room.
Which of the four “sports” titles are you most excited to try your hand at? Would you like to see a resurgence of split-screen experiences?
Sportsfriends is set to invade living rooms on May 6, 2014 for PS3 and PS4 with PC, Mac and Linux releases coming soon to Steam.
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