Behold the Kickmen is an incredible game, even if you’re not into soccer!

 

Tonight I started playing Behold the Kickmen, developed by Size Five Games, and I have to say I’m already in love with it. I played through the tutorial (which the game strongly suggests you play, but in a lighthearted way) and jumped into the first match of the story mode and I think I’ve had more fun in the thirty minutes I’ve spent with it than I have with most sports games. Right from the start you’ll notice that the game doesn’t take the sport of soccer seriously. The tutorial features plenty of pop-ups that poke fun at the sport, seemingly coming from someone who doesn’t care much about the sport in the first place (Kotaku’s recent headline reads: “Game Developer Makes Soccer Game Without Learning How Soccer is Played”).

The writing in the game is so good that I can say I actually enjoyed a tutorial in a video game, probably for the first time ever. I had a smile on my face as I read the pop-ups halfheartedly teaching you the rules of the game, at least as interpreted through the narrator. Once I dove into the actual story mode things only got wackier.

Behold the Kickmen’s story mode seems like it’ll be a blast (I’ve only played the first match so far), but what’s crazier than the silly dialogue is the way the game is played. It plays unlike most soccer games you’ve probably played before in many ways. For starters, your players don’t even know how to pass the ball during the first match. You have to win matches in order to acquire skills, such as passing “THE MOST BASIC OF SKILLS!”.

To make things more interesting, as you’re playing the match you’ll see a dollar amount on screen that correlates to the crowd’s excitement. It’ll go up or down based on how well you’re playing, but you need to score a goal in order to bank that cash. You can then use whatever cash you banked after the match to upgrade your team’s abilities.

Everything about Behold the Kickmen seems passionately designed, and it’s by far the most stylish sports game I’ve ever played. I’m really digging the art, music and sound effects, and I’ll say it again, I’ve never laughed as much while playing a sports game. I can’t wait to see what the game has in store next. I highly recommend checking the game out. It’s only $3.99 on Steam ($3.59 until July 27) which seems INSANE for just how great it is so far. I can’t wait to play more!

-Jonathan Hirt-

 

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Checking out NBA 2k16

While on vacation, visiting my dad, and away from all reasonably useful internet (he has satellite internet with a 5GB monthly cap, I brought along a prepaid AT&T hotstpot that gets me 8GB 4G connectivity per $75 reload, and my phone which caps out at 10GB) I’ve been diving deeper into games I never really gave a chance before. For the past few days I’ve been spending a lot of time with NBA 2K16, one of many games downloaded to my hard drive that I’ve never played before.

I’m not necessarily a fan of basketball, but I tried to watch some of this year’s NBA finals so I’m at least somewhat familiar with the game. I tend to enjoy sports games, but for some reason never got around to checking out the NBA 2K series. It took some time to get acquainted with the controls and the flow of the game, but once I started getting the hang of it I had a blast. I’ve been playing MyGM mode and have already turned the Philadelphia 76ers into a serious playoff contender (mostly because I’m playing on the lowest difficulty) and have petitioned to move the team to Baltimore (voted against 19-1) just for fun.

The moment to moment gameplay is a thrill, as momentum swings back and forth several times throughout games (I’ve experienced several nail-biting OT affairs already). I’ve had just as much fun losing as I have had winning, as every game produces its own unique moments that add to the overarching story of my inaugural season as the 76er’s GM.

The presentation during the games feels top notch, however the pregame and halftime shows tend to feel awkward, mostly due to the robotic animations and voices of the presenters (Shaq looks downright creepy at times). These seem to work to mask load times, which means that you can’t skip them entirely, but must wait thirty seconds or so to get into the action (the loads are longer before each game). This slows down progress, and makes the game feel sluggish at times compared to the quicker interruptions of a game like Madden.

I’ve tried playing the Spike Lee story mode, however I’ve found that if my internet connection drops just for a moment it’ll kick me back to the main menu and I’ll lose whatever progress I’ve made so far. It’s annoying that this mode requires an internet connection, but I assume it has something to do with the micro-transactions tied to its virtual currency.

So far I’ve enjoyed NBA 2k16 a ton, and I’ve found myself thinking about how I’m going to continue to improve my franchise even when I’m not playing. I’m looking forward to seeing how the rest of my season will play out as I spend even more time with the game.