10 Things You Need To Know About… Sportsfriends, a compendium of local multiplayer delights

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Beginning life as a Kickstarter campaign, Sportsfriends is a collection of four very distinct co-operative and competitive multiplayer games, each developed by a different creator.


The four games included in the compilation – namely Hokra, Super Pole Riders, BaraBariBall and Johann Sebastian Joust – are all very different from one another, but all attempt to recreate the fun of solo and team sports using simplified controls, abstracted rule sets and stylised visuals to represent things like playing fields and balls.

What are the ten things you should know about Sportsfriends? Let’s find out:

Sportsfriends – Launch Trailer

- 1.) BaraBariBall

Creator of BaraBariBall, Noah Sasso, calls his contribution to Sportsfriends “a new fighting game for two to four players. Instead of just smacking your opponent around, players duel for control of the ball and score points by dunking it into the goals on either side of the screen… though, there is still a lot of smacking each other around, especially since spiking someone into the water will cause them to lose a point.”

Players will have a limited number of jumps to make their way around the arena, though, which means that you’ll need to make every move count

BaraBariBall Trailer

- 2.) Super Pole Riders

Bennett Foddy describes his creation as “a game that crosses pole vaulting with polo and kung fu.”

Using the analogue sticks to run and aim your pole, the aim of the game is to vault yourself into the air and knock a package suspended in the air along a line towards a goal on the other end of the field – if your pole happens to stick to the package and lets you slide it along the line to score, so much the better.

Super Pole Riders Trailer

- 3.) Hokra

Hokra is described by creator Ramiro Corbetta as “a minimalist sports game for two teams of two players. Players score points by holding the balls in the goals of their colour on the corners of the screen.”

Watching the game might remind you of the mechanics of football/soccer, or hockey, with players passing the ball from one to the other and rapidly moving around the screen in the hopes of positioning themselves for a passing opportunity to score.

Hokra Trailer

- 4.) Johann Sebastian Joust

Johann Sebastian Joust is highly unique in that it’s not a videogame – the interaction is with your fellow players, each of whom are holding a PlayStation Move motion controller (or a Dualshock controller), each with the goal of holding that controller as still as possible while trying to get their opponents to move theirs.

Perhaps more accurately, the game is described by creator Doug Wilson as “basically a face-to-face sword fight, set to music,” and “so much more than your average motion control game. It’s more like some kind of crazy 21st century martial art, illuminated by those beautiful LED lights on the PS Move controller.”


Johann Sebastian Joust Trailer

- 5.) Sportsfriends is local multiplayer only

Like other local multiplayer games that have released recently like Samurai Gunn, Towerfall and Nidhogg, it would have been a great option to play the three non-physical games in the Sportsfriends collection over the internet but the game (currently) only supports local play on the same console.

- 6.) Johann Sebastian Joust supports many controllers

This physical game is compatible with Dualshock 3, Dualshock 4 and PlayStation Move controllers, and the game itself supports up to seven players on PlayStation 3 and four players on PlayStation 4.


- Johann Sebastian Joust

- 7.) You can create Hokra play fields

If you’re not happy with the base set of arenas provided in Hokra, you can create your own play fields with goal placements and barriers, and the game’s creator says that he may add a “crazy” eight-player mode which should give you ample reasons to design brand new fields.


- Hokra

- 8.) You can customise the rules

Every game allows you to customise the rulesets that you and your friends play with making for drastically different ways to play with new strategies and techniques emerging.

BaraBariBall, for example, gives you the option of increasing or decreasing the number of jumps your player is able to perform before they run out and regenerate which completely changes a player’s approach to how they try to capture the ball and sink it in the opposition’s goal area.


- BaraBariBall

- 9.) Every game supports up to four players

Each game in the compilation allows for at least up to four players to play at once either split into teams of two, completely solo in the case of Joust (although alliances can be useful), or with one-versus-one matches to put your skills to the test.


- Super Pole Riders

- 10.) Every game has been tested thoroughly, by the public

Every game in the Sportsfriends collection has been available to play at gaming events like PAX and Game Developers Conference for at least two years, which means many hours of playtesting with feedback going directly back into each game to hone and refine the final product.

Sportsfriends is out on PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 starting May 6th as a downloadable game via PlayStation Network for $14.99 / €13.99, with Cross-Buy support if you buy the PS3 version of the game.

Will you be picking up Sportsfriends this week?

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