September 4, 2013 7:00 AM | Anthony Swinnich
For many, Johan Sebastian Joust might be seen as the reason to pick up Sportsfriends MMXIV. While it's good, there are three more games in the collection, and honestly, they might be even better. I had a chance to play them at PAX Prime and I can safely say that they could make big waves the local multiplayer world. These games are competitive. And yes, you may end up hating the people you play against in the best way possible.
The flashiest of the bunch, graphically speaking, is called Super Pole Riders. It's an updated version of the free broswer-based Pole Riders. Imagine a ball attached to a string, suspended in the air over a court. Players are pole vaulters, and can use both their lengthy stick and their body to smack the ball along the rope, toward their opponent's goal. You can also attack your opponent by swinging your body into them. It takes a lot more skill to score than you might think, and it supports a frantic four players.
Hokra is the second of the bunch. Players each control one square on a large map. The game begins with a puck in the middle which players need to hold in their opponents' goal zone until the color fills up. The other team can knock the puck away from you and pick it up to do the same, however, so it's important to use the pass function with your teammate. There seems to be a pretty large variety of maps, each with different configurations.
Last but far-from-least we have Bari Bari Ball, a Super Smash Bros.-type game where you score points by submerging a ball in your opponents side of the map. Two-on-two matches are fast-paced and high energy. Attacking your opponent to either distract them from or steal the ball is the name of the game here. Scoring is not easy, mostly due to the fact that players have access to seven jumps and can often save a point from being scored by jumping down and rescuing the sphere. If you fall into the water and die, however, your team loses a point, meaning you'll have to be careful of your opponents' attacks.
Sportsfriends MMXIV will be coming to the Playstation 3, Windows, Mac and Linux this fall for $15. If you have any interest whatsoever in couch-based multiplayer, you owe it to yourself and your playgroup to seek this game out. It's going to provide hours of enjoyment even if you don't spring for the Move controllers to play Johan Sebastian Joust.