Sometimes a concept comes around, and it’s so silly, it manages to be a sensation before people get a hold of the game. I’m surprised Alpaca Ball: Allstars hasn’t captured the imagination of the internet—maybe it hasn’t had its chance yet.
Alpaca Ball: Allstars is a physics based soccer game that is awfully reminiscent of Rocket League. In Alpaca Ball you take control of a wobbly headed, long-necked alpaca as you attempt to smack the ball with your alpaca head. It might not take over e-sports like Rocket League has, but Alpaca Ball makes for some serious competitive play—even if it feels a little based on chaotic chance.
Most of the matches in Alpaca Ball: Allstars play like they would in Rocket League. You have one to four players on each team, each trying to knock the ball into the other team’s goal. You can dash, do a forward hit, a backwards hit, or a massive front hit. Since the alpacas are swinging their heads around to make contact, they are liable to get knocked out if they hit them too hard—or if another alpaca rams into them. In fact, being able to daze your own alpaca while attempting a hard hit makes for some interesting high-risk gameplay—and hilarious moments. It’s funny as hell watching eight alpacas swinging their heads around, especially when power-ups get involved.
Power-ups can change gameplay drastically, and they happen seemingly at random. Alpacas can get their necks elongated, which makes their heads less accurate but far more whip-like. Or all alpacas on the opposing team can be shrunk down to cat size, reducing their hitting power and making them easily trampled.
Power-ups aren’t the only thing that switches up play: the ball can make a huge difference. If you want to play with a traditional soccer ball you can, but beach balls, hockey pucks, footballs, and even a bomb are available to smack around in hopes of getting a goal. Footballs are predictably unpredictable, andalso make for some chaotic fun—while bombs explode occasionally, knocking out any alpaca in the blast radius.
The stadium that you play in can make a huge difference, too. There are ten stadiums in Alpaca Ball: Allstars, each are a slightly different size. A bank shot in one stadium might score a goal, but in another it might just harmlessly hit off of a panel. Some stadiums are much smaller, too, making large four versus four matches feel cramped, and that much more ridiculous.
If you don’t have friends to play with, you can always play against bots in versus mode—but there is also a career mode. Of course, if you do have friends, you can play online, multiplayer, couch multiplayer, and you can even bring a co-op friend into the career mode as well.
Perhaps my only complaint is the lack of collectibles or progression. There are no levels, skills—there aren’t even any hats to collect. You can customize your alpaca before matches, but you can’t get anything beyond the cosmetics that are already available.
Play online or local for a crazy party game, Alpaca Ball: Allstars is great fun. It won’t have the staying power of Rocket League, but it’s a hilarious party game that manages to feel like skill is a major determining factor—most of the time. It’s not quite Goat Simulator, but if there was a Goat Simulator and Rocket League mash-up, this would be the closest thing to it.
Alpaca Ball: Allstars is available on Windows via Steam and for Nintendo Switch on October 15th, with planned releases for PlayStation 4 and Xbox next year.
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