Games have gotten so much more immersive over the years. Where we used to have simple pixels battling it out, we now have high res soldiers charging on towards victory. Our RPG heroes are new three-dimensional with shining new graphics running smoothly in a polished engine. Even our sports games have gotten more advanced as modern athletes are perfectly emulated in the game world. But is that all we can do? Are we only going to get nicer looking games in the future or is someone going to try and reinvent the wheel? That is precisely what Supra Games is doing with their latest title Supraball!
Developed by: Supra Games
Published by: Supra Games
Available on Steam for $19.99
Available in English
General infoSupra Games defines their newest game Supraball as an FPSG or a First Person Sports Game. Teams of three or five will fight over a glowing, yellow ball in the center of the field and try to get it into their opponents goal. Sounds pretty simple at first, except for the fact that you aren't kicking the ball...you're shooting it back and forth with hand cannons! Yes, much like the old school Doom, your view is squarely positioned behind a gun. But this gun is designed to be the ultimate sports weapon.
GameplaySupraball handles much like the traditional team and ball based sports games. You earn points by getting the ball away from your opponents and into their goal. If the ball goes outside of the map's borders, it is teleported back in for a "kickoff". After a few minutes, the game is over and whatever team managed to score more points wins the match. Games can get pretty exciting with a full 5v5 set up and your heart will be racing as you dash for the ball or line up that perfect shot.
OffenseWith the implementation of the gun, things can get a little more advanced than traditional sports games. The handheld device is capable of passing the ball to a teammate with a sort of lock-on system. This makes passing much easier as the game will help you control your passes and not wildly blast the projectile all over the map. However, you can also charge up your shot and fire it in whatever direction you please. If you manage to catch the ball and find yourself swarmed by opponents, a quick charge might be just what you need to get the ball across the map and into a better position.
Your gun can also be used to knock enemies around. When not in possession of the ball, the shot button becomes a kind of burst attack. Hitting allies with this will grant them a temporary boost of speed, but hitting enemies might knock them back a few feet or possibly cause them to drop the ball. If you or another player takes too much damage, you might even be temporarily knocked out!
DefenseDefense is also possible with the gun, as it comes equipped with two interesting functions. The first is a close range pick up a function that can be used to snatch the ball out of the air or quickly scoop it up if it is close enough. Mix this with a little timing and you can pull off interceptions to regain control of the ball. You can also take the ball away from enemies shortly after knocking it out of their hands with your guns burst attack.
The second defensive move your gun can pull off is a reflector shield. Capable of bouncing the ball right back where it came from, this shield can be pulled up at will for quick use and strategy. Using this shield, you can support your goalie and act as another obstacle for your opponents.
MovementMovement in the game also strays from traditional sports games, as your character is able to jump not twice, but four times in the air. With this quadruple jump, you can quickly outmaneuver your opponents, find weak points in their defense, quickly intercept a high flying ball, or just change direction mid-air. The double jump is such a fan favorite in any game it exists in, Supra Games decided to give us twice as much fun. You'll be soaring through the air, colliding with enemies, catching their wayward shots, and taking aim on goal in no time.
Graphics and audioFor an early access game, Supraball looks pretty clean. While I was only able to play in the 5v5 stadium, it really did feel like a massive sports arena. The crowd is alive with electric energy throughout the game and can be seen cheering in the stands. When a goal is scored, smoke and lights will erupt throughout the stadium in ecstatic celebration. The guns all have clear effects and you are easily able to tell what is happening as the game goes on. When a player picks up the ball, a yellow glow around them makes it easy to distinguish just who has possession. A light trail follows the ball at all times and changes color based on what team last sent it searing throughout the field. While the players themselves are rather simple stick figure like characters, these subtle decisions make it easy to determine the current status of the game. I will say it becomes a little difficult to see what is happening on the opposite side of the field and since the map is rather large, this can be an issue.
The audio of the game is pretty standard. Cartoony boinks and bounces accompany the action and characters will let out a small squeal of pain as they collide with each other in midair. You gun feels futuristic with its laser noises and the roar of a scored goal will make you feel like you're actually at a live sporting event. The only noise I could do without is the small air sound that accompanies each jump. During a game, you will hear this noise constantly as you and the other players hardly stop jumping.
UIThe UI could still use a little bit of work, but it is forgivable for an early access game. The matchmaking screen lags a little and doesn't have a whole lot of polish to it, but I can only imagine this will get more clean as the game develops. Also present is a map in the bottom right section of the screen that displays the action of the game. While this does help you quickly see where the other players are, the map is comprised of simple blue and red dots. It can be a little difficult to see who has control of the ball or even where the ball is at a time. Most of the time, I simply didn't use the map and stuck to following the ball with my own eyes.
NegativesAt its core Supraball, is an interesting take on sports games. However, there are a few issues present in this game. For one, the current tutorial is rather lacking. While it explains jumping and shooting the ball, I mostly had to learn the remainder of the controls in the game. It wasn't until opening up the control screen in the Esc menu that I learned I could pass and reflect the ball. Another thing that proved difficult was actually getting into a game. I tried over three times to do a practice match with computers and failed each time. When I tried to play an actual match with other players, I was told certain games were unavailable because I hadn't earned enough in-game experience. I couldn't play any games because I hadn't played any games. In the two days I attempted to play this game, I managed to only get into one ten minute game each day.
To be fair, this is a Multiplayer game. The number of players who actually have the game directly determines how likely you are to play. It's just a shame that so much of the practice options are limited.
I can forgive these issues as it is still an early access game, but I am confident these will quickly vanish as the game is further developed.
VerdictDespite a few development bugs, Supraball in its entirety is a pretty solid game. It's easy to pick up and understand in a short time. Much like how Rocket League took the gaming community by storm with its release, I feel this game can potentially be another breath of fresh air. Supraball also has been recently updated earlier this month with many new features, including 3v3 maps for smaller games. There are a plethora of visual updates implemented, including an overhaul on the gun and improvements on the character model. There are several other visual updates to the different maps, but I didn't get personally the chance to see any first hand in the few games I managed to play. In addition, you now earn in-game XP for various actions like saving, scoring, passing, assisting, and boosting teammates. The developers say they plan on further balancing these points, but it does feel nice to be individually rewarded for skillful playing.
All things considered, I quite enjoyed my preview of this game. I will keep my eye on it for further updates and you should too!
|+ Simple, but innovate and fun||- Many things still in progress|
|+ Rewarded for individual skill||- Small number of other players available|