In general I wouldn’t consider myself to be much of a fan of soccer/football. I never really enjoyed playing it, and I don’t really have any interest in watching it either. That said I am actually a pretty big fan of the sport when it comes to video games. In particular Rocket League is one of my favorite video games of all time. For this reason I was intrigued when I saw Alpaca Ball: Allstars. I don’t know why exactly, but I have always been kind of a sucker for silly co-op games. The idea of playing soccer with alpacas sounded like an interesting idea. Alpaca Ball: Allstars is a silly party game that fans of the genre will likely enjoy even if it isn’t the deepest experience.
Alpaca Ball: Allstars is basically exactly what you would expect it to be. In the game you and up to seven other players will play a game of soccer with alpacas. This on the surface sounds like a ridiculous idea. It gets even stranger though because instead of using your alpaca’s legs you will use their heads to hit the ball. Basically when you shoot your alpacas head will swing in a circular fashion and hit the ball in the direction you are aiming. The game gives you a couple different types of shots including a normal shot, a backwards shot, and even a charged up shot. You also have access to a jump and dash. You need to use these different abilities to try and score goals against the other team.
While you can play a “normal” game of soccer, Alpaca Ball: Allstars also features a number of ways to tweak the gameplay. The game features a number of different stadiums with some being larger than others and one featuring an icy surface which you slide on. There are also a couple different balls that you can play with. The gameplay remains the same as you are still trying to score goals. The different balls, which range from American footballs, to hockey pucks, and even bombs, change how the ball moves and provides other special abilities. Finally like a typical party game there are a number of different special abilities that you can utilize. These are randomly given to players during the game with such abilities as altering the path of the ball, to knocking out other players, and other abilities that impact the game.
The game features two main gameplay modes. First the game has a campaign mode. The campaign mode is pretty typical for this type of game. You will move around the game world competing in different soccer matches as you try to become alpaca ball champions. These matches utilize the various stadiums and different types of balls to slightly mix up the gameplay. Basically you win a match and then move onto the next match. Between the matches are short story sections where you get to know your teammates as your team tries to become the champs. The story is pretty silly and kind of feels like it was meant more for children. This leaves the campaign as mostly just a group of matches that are tied together.
The other main gameplay mode is just a normal exhibition match. The game has a number of different settings that you can choose from which includes the stadium, type of ball, length, and which players will compete on each team. As I mentioned earlier the game supports up to eight players as you can play 2 vs 2, 3 vs 3, or 4 vs 4. You can also utilize bots. The bots are kind of hit or miss. At the lower levels they aren’t very good as it is quite easy to beat them. At the higher difficulties they can be somewhat challenging as it is hard to score points on them. They will still occasionally make stupid decisions where they will end up shooting at their own goal.
For this reason I would say that Alpaca Ball: Allstars is more of a game for a group of players. I ended up playing with only two players, but I can tell that the game is more enjoyable with more players. I mostly say this because Alpaca Ball: Allstars is meant to be a silly party game. I honestly think the game could be kind of dull if you played it by yourself. The reason that the game is best enjoyed by a group of players is that it is not meant to be taken seriously. You will have more fun with the game if you are laughing and just generally enjoying what you are doing. The game is silly and it doesn’t try to hide it. How could it as you are playing soccer with alpacas. The physics can be wonky and can lead to some truly funny moments as alpacas fly through the sky.
You need to have this expectation in place before playing the game because you need to know that you aren’t going to be getting a serious soccer game out of Alpaca Ball: Allstars. The controls are far from finely tuned. There will be times where your alpaca doesn’t do exactly what you want them to do. They will hit the ball weirdly at times, and they will miss balls that you think they should have been able to hit. This might really frustrate some players. I am guessing that this was a choice made by the developers though as it does fit with the game’s overall silly premise. The game is not meant to be taken seriously, and thus it is kind of funny when a player misses a shot that they otherwise should have made. At the same time though you actually feel a sense of accomplishment when you are able to make an impressive goal.
As for Alpaca Ball: Allstars’ length it is going to somewhat depend on the player. The campaign features around 30 matches. Matches generally take between 3-5 minutes to complete. When you lose you have to replay the match. I would guess most players could complete the campaign in about 4-7 hours. The real length will come from how many exhibition matches you decide to play. I could see the game working well at parties or family nights where you can get a lot of players together in order to play a couple quick matches.
While I had fun playing it, Alpaca Ball: Allstars is not the type of game that you will want to play for hours at a time. The game is better in 30 minutes to hour increments. This is mostly because the gameplay never drastically changes. Using different balls or stadiums adds a little to mix things up, but the gameplay never really differentiates itself all that much. After a couple of matches the gameplay starts to feel similar. At that point you are better off coming back to the game on a different day. After completing the campaign for this review I plan to take a decent break before playing the game some more as it started to get a little repetitive towards the end.
I had fun with Alpaca Ball: Allstars as it succeeds at being a silly little party soccer game. How could it not be as you are literally playing soccer with alpacas that hit the ball with their heads instead of their feet. The game is not meant to be taken seriously which is emphasized by the controls not always being precise. You will miss some shots that you think you should have made, and there are some other general weird things that happen with the physics from time to time. This all plays into the game’s silly nature though. It is hard to pinpoint exactly why, but the game is fun especially if you play with other players. The game can be funny at times due to all of the wacky things that are going on. It is also really easy to play where anyone can jump in and play without any prior experience with the game. This is why I think the game will work well with families and in party settings. The game’s campaign is longer than I expected as well. Alpaca Ball: Allstars does get a little repetitive after a while though where it is better in shorter doses.
My recommendation comes down to your opinion of silly party games and the game’s general premise. If you aren’t really a fan of either it likely won’t be for you. Those that think the game sounds interesting should have fun. Whether you should purchase at full price ($20) or wait for a sale depends on how important the amount of time you get out of a game is.
We at Geeky Hobbies would like to thank Salt Castle Studio, Badland Publishing, and Leoful, for the review copy of Alpaca Ball: Allstars used for this review. Other than receiving a free copy of the game to review, we at Geeky Hobbies received no other compensation for this review. Receiving the review copy for free had no impact on the content of this review or the final score.