Speedball 2 Evolution: PSN review

  • Format:PSP and PS3 Mini
  • Unleashed: Out Now
  • Publisher: Tower Studios
  • Developer: Vivid Games
  • Players: 1
  • Site: http://www.tower-studios.co.uk/

Do not dismiss this game because you have not got a PSP or do not use your PSP. Why? It’ll work on the PS3 and up and coming PS Vita. And why is it so important we bring this to your attention? Because this game is great, amazing value, and possibly the first PSN Mini which is a must have. Seriously. We’ll set out the argument below.

As with the IOs version the original metallic palette has been considerably brightened up.

If you recall we have already reviewed this game for iOS devices, and we gave it a ‘safe’ 7/10 score. It was the same great game of Speedball 2 that we could remember, but somehow some of the atmosphere seemed left behind and this was acerbated by a poor man’s compromise between tilt controls and a touch screen virtual joystick. For all the criticism the PSP has received over the years about only having one thumb stick, it is ironic that near the end of its lifecycle it receives a game that was designed for only one thumb stick! This was originally an Amiga game, and that platform utilised joysticks, which mainly only had one fire button and one simple control stick. The PSP is in its element here, and the game equally plays well on the PS3 (more on that later).

Speedball 2 is rugby, handball and Australian Rules Football combined in a future setting. It’s faced paced, and it involves scoring points in multiple ways. Methods of scoring include throwing the ball into the opposition’s goal, bouncing it off mechanisms in the field of play, or just by knocking out opposition players.

The graphics are sharp and the sound is as good as we remember on the Amiga, and seems to have been sharpened up a little; but that might just be psychological. Either way the presentation is excellent, with clear menus and updated graphics for team selection, and the whole package is very high quality.

Updated Menus make the game more accessible and smarter for 2011

The game has no multiplayer mode which is a real let down, but which is a problem with the Mini format, used to get this game to market. Multiplayer Speedball 2 would be amazing over PSN, and perhaps if this Mini does well Sony might be encouraged to request an upgraded PS Vita/PS3 version which is a full PSN release. What the game does offer is a full ten season career mode, a quick match mode and a challenge mode (which is really the career mode broken down into its individual elements). Additionally the game comes with its own form of achievements and trophies encouraging different styles of play.

In our previous review we had discussed the little known fact that there was a version on the GBA. We thought that it was a near perfect conversion of the game. The iOS version seemed a step back from that, but this PSN Mini version is a step in the right direction. We dug out our coveted GBA conversion (which is almost identical to the Amiga in every way) and overall we can say that this is an improvement on the original! The only two remaining issues are the already mentioned lack of multiplayer and that compared to the original, the characters don’t always seemed to be connected to the floor when running. This might simply be an illusion caused by a wider range of colours being used in the newest build; or it’s because the player animations have been tampered with, leaving an undesired effect visible to the player.

We really can’t stop emphasising how this game really suits this gaming platform. It is not just player movement which is far more fluid, but in addition the ability to curve the ball is given extra refinement with the implementation of proper analogue control.

Speedball has always been a great concept, and the original developers, The Bitmap Brothers, struck upon a timeless gem. The iOS version is still very good; but if you have a PSP lying about and/or a PS3 this is a must have download. Most PSN Minis are throwaway titles, but this will keep you coming back and back for a quick fix. The game looks just fine on the PS3 (a higher res build would be lovely, but this will suffice), unlike many Minis which don’t scale that nicely to a large HD screen.

If you want a hard hitting, addictive sports game which gives instant gratification get this now. Heck it’s only £2.49, which is less than the IOs version. Hopefully if enough of us get it Sony will see fit to commission a full PSN release with multiplayer, both local and online.

 


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Written by Steven G

Steven Gurevitz is the CEO of 2002 Studios Media LTD and a founder of gaming accessory company Asiiya. 2002 Studios started off as a music production company, but produces a range of content from videos to videogames. The company specialises in localizing content for global brands. He also owns the Urban Sound Label, a small niche e-label. He is a freelance music tech writer, having co-written the Music Technology Workbook and is a regular contributor and co-owner CriticalGamer.co.uk. He enjoys FPS, Third person 'free world', narrative driven and portable gaming. He is a freelance music tech writer, having co-written the Music Technology Workbook and is a regular contributor to CriticalGamer.co.uk.

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