Welcome to the future of electronic sport. Sure, Videoball may not look like a cutting edge PlayStation 4 game, with simple visuals of friendly-looking triangles (which you control) and circles (the titular videoballs themselves) – but thanks to a cunningly refined game engine and simple controls, this is pure addictive fun.
Casual players can pick up and play with ease: you use one analogue stick to move and any button to shoot a triangle, which is how you move the videoballs around. That's all the introduction that you need. So, as the commentator, quips: "Let's Videoball!"
The core gameplay feels like a two-dimensional mix of air hockey with American Football. The objective is to get any of the three videoballs into the score zone, resulting in a touchdown. You hold a button to charge a "shot", which then fires upon release. These projectiles can hit the ball, causing it to move or block your opponents' shots – and even bash your foe out of the way.
The most powerful shot comes complete with a jetstream trail, but the downside is that this shot can be deflected back at you, which can lead to some intense rallies or sucker punch reversals. There is also a final level of charge that rather than sending out a triangle forms a defensive square barrier for you to place on the playing field. This mechanic stops you sitting in wait with a fully charged shot ready to ambush a passing ball. The square barrier can be destroyed by opponents but forms a great alternative defence strategy, with a timely use to block key angels from which your score zone may be vulnerable.
Everything works really well and allows for some serious depth in the tactic department. The single player options see you working your way through the various pitches against AI foes who are programmed with different personality traits, such as 'Punchy', who attacks rather than necessarily trying to score. Multiplayer is where Videoball really shines, though, as you can have combos of four human or AI players in local or online matches.
There are a nice range of pitches to try, some with smaller score zones or blocks in various places which switch up how you have to approach matches. Working with a human partner is a great bonding experience – just be careful not to stun each other too much as friendly fire can be an issue.
Videoball is a classy and low cost game that is manic fun in multiplayer and an okay grind in single player arcade mode. Don't let the simplistic looks put you off – have some balls and fire this up at your earliest convenience.