There’s not much room to change up football games other than annual releases to reflect changes in rosters, adding management options, dream teams and loot incentives. Or, going the gimmick route such as a licensed game with fan-favourite characters (Super Mario Strikers) or cute animals have a go at the beloved sport: Alpaca Ball: Allstars.
What will hit you immediately is the lush choice of colours, the cute visuals and the seemingly ‘it’s all about the fun’ element. All games are fun, right? The concept for Alpaca Ball: Allstars is passable – any excuse to play a variant on football, but in practice, it’s quite messy, and the happy-go-lucky approach is more for casual gamers than those looking to progress.
The campaign mode has you start on a tutorial, but really, the best way to play the game is the matches as they’re so hit and miss, you’re more likely to learn the game with the way this plays than hitting the ball into an open goal without any opponents. It’s like learning a martial art to hit boards. Once you’ve played the tutorial, or skipped it, you’ll have a world map with free movement to go on to the next match. Between these matches are dialogue sections from your mum and banter from your opponent. It’s all charming, so no one will be insulting your mum here, and the players you go up against include alpacas like Rich Angus. He wears a top hat.
To move on to the next match, you have to win. A dotted line will show you the next fixture, and you move your hero accordingly. Matches are typically a three-minute game where you have to get more goals than your opponent. These games are one-a-side or two-a-side, however you see fit as the pitch is relatively small. The ball will drop into the centre, and you dash for it with a shoulder button either smashing the ball for an early goal with the A button or knock it into a corner to then go for it after distracting the other player.
It took me a few goals to realise you can tap it in, which is far more accurate and likely to get you a goal, but for the majority of the time, you’ll be spinning around on the spot with your neck out, hoping to knock the ball in as if you were playing a game of polo.
It’s very hit and miss, and I found the ball would frequently rebound, so my tactic would be pelting the ball for the rebound then walking it in for the accuracy as even close range can result in a backfire. It’s hardly the best tactics, but this isn’t a simulator and more of a party game. Dribbling isn’t an option, so you can’t play the possession game as once you tap the ball, it’ll move forward. Another cheap tactic would be walking into the ball and dash in front of the opponent to knock them out of the way then go for the goal.
Your players can also jump in Alpaca Ball: Allstars, but the movement is very sluggish and not something I would do unless the ball was in the air, obviously. Also, you can hit the ball backwards with the Y button, which is a good option as the number of own goals I scored… It’s very messy, though, and it’s like playing Gang Beasts football. The presentation is very nice overall, and as mentioned, the colours are nice and pop. For me, the music was one of the highlights as it’s very upbeat and feels like the festival season. It won’t be for everyone, but if you want something a bit light hearted with a positive vibe suitable for younger players, then it’s a winner on that part; my three-year-old absolutely adored the game. She wasn’t bothered with controls and was giggling away with each swing of the neck and being able to make a rainbow alpaca early one.
That’s right, from the outset you can customise your alpaca with various ‘prints’ such as rainbow, tiger, zebra and more. You can also give them a mohawk, top hat and shaggy hairstyle, among others. It’s all cosmetic with no stats to speak of, but in essence, this is a party game significantly better with friends and family.
When it comes to the campaign, I was a little indifferent. The story didn’t pull me in, nor could I care less about the characters involved. Also, because of the inconsistency of scoring goals, I found it hard to take it seriously. However, the moment I played with my family, it was significantly better as in all honesty, we weren’t concerned with who was winning but the fun of and lunacy of it all.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Nintendo Switch code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Alpaca Ball: Allstars Review
Gameplay - 6/10
Graphics - 7/10
Sound - 7/10
Replay Value - 7/10
User Review( votes)
A fun, family-friendly party game, but the erratic controls can’t be taken by the more serious gamer looking to dominate a campaign. Then again, it doesn’t take itself seriously, so if you’re looking for a cheery sports title for younger players, this is worth considering.
- Significantly better as a party game with friends/family.
- A feel-good atmosphere with cure aesthetics.
- Customisable characters from the start.
- Controls are inconisistent.
- The campaign mode is a bit of a chore.
- More of a ‘short bursts’ party game.