Sportsfriends, a multi-developer Kickstarter collaboration with a focus on quirky local multiplayer, is on the way to the PS3 and PC. I played several of Sportsfriends’ four addictive games at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, California today. The full downloadable suite includes a bizarre pole vaulting game, an Atari 2600-esque soccer/king of the hill hybrid, a game involving basketball tip-offs and watery goals, and something called Johann Sebastian Joust.

Barabariball (pictured above)

Two players compete to toss a white ball into a body of water their opponent tries to defend. You have a finite amount of air jumps to maneuver through the air, and the shoulder buttons are used to dash left and right. Players can make daring leaps to catch a ball headed towards their water, resulting in some fantastic saves.

Super Pole Riders

A physics based challenge involving pole vaulting designed for two players. Using the analog sticks, players compete to knock a red ball suspended from a line up above into their opponent’s goal. Maneuvering the pole to perform a jump kick on the ball quickly blasts it towards the goal. Alternatively, you can try to land a kick on your rival’s head or bat at the ball with the pole itself. The controls take some getting used to, but watching the uncoordinated characters struggle with their poles is hilarious in the meantime.


Hokra (above)

This four-player game features a variety of maps with colored goals on opposing sides. Pixelated players zip around after a tiny black speck, attempting to keep possession of it in their similarly colored goal to rack up points. Meanwhile, the other team tries to steal the black dot and bring it back to their territory. Communicating with your teammate about passing the dot and running blocking incoming opponents keeps the simple game tense. The first team to keep possession of the black dot for a specific length of time wins. 

Johann Sebastian Joust

Four players each hold a Sony Move controller steady while trying to shake those being held by their rivals. This more physical game is all about balancing offense with defense. While I didn’t partake in a match of the odd game myself, watching others posture and tip toe around each other is incredibly entertaining. 

The entire Sportfriends package may appear slim at first glance, but these games are built for replayability. If the amount of fun I had with the game during my brief hands-on time is any indication, PS3 owners are in for a treat when the downloadable hits this Fall. PC, Mac, and Linux versions will be released shortly after.