Certain sports are tough to recreate in the “interactive digital medium,” cricket and rugby seemingly being the most difficult to pull off. Yet this effort is one of the best attempts we’ve seen, despite it looking rougher than a man in a sandpaper leotard.
Above: It seems they took the term duck literally
What it does is come close to capturing the physical nature of the game of cricket, at least in terms of how the ball reacts off the bat – the one thing nobody has ever yet managed in a cricket game. It’s not perfect, but genuine edged shots do actually occur, and not just in a really forced, fake manner as is the case in other games.
Anyway, it’s easy enough to get the basics of cricket right – press buttons at the right time to initiate a shot, move a target around and assign swing and seam to deliveries and so on. Cricket Revolution has great potential, if it can find enough fans of the sport willing to pay the relatively budget price. It’s got Steam achievements, a web community element, stat tracking and all that sort of thing. It also has challenging-yet-playable game mechanics holding everything together. Batting is a matter of tapping key combinations to initiate a stroke.
For example, a dab of the down arrow key makes your batsman play a forward defensive shot, while double-tapping the right arrow tries a hook. Hit down then left and a cover drive is done. Lofted shots and gentle pushes can be achieved using modifiers (Shift, Ctrl and Alt) to make the list of potential shots available as comprehensive as you’ve ever seen in a cricket game.
Bowling is more traditional and less fun. The aiming circle is far too twitchy, but at least it means a human opponent won’t just be nailing your batsman with pinpoint deliveries for the whole match.
The online play is where the game will stand or fall. Numbers aren’t huge at the moment, but if you can manage to find others around the same skill level as you – rather than those of immense ability who’ll club you out of the ground with each ball – then you should have a great time, as the underlying mechanics are solid.
However, it’s inevitable that some bastards will find exploits and use them to grind out win after win. If Mindstorm can deal with this when it happens, they could have a sleeper hit on their hands. If only it didn’t look like such a dog’s dinner.
Nov 12, 2009