During the quasi-pleasure of playing Gumboy Crazy Adventures, you rolled about collecting stars, changing your shape and sticking to surfaces to open up a portal and finish the level. While the game was a one-trick pony, it had fairly entertaining stables for you to frolic through. Sadly, its more adventurous cousin, Gumboy Tournament, takes this action into a multiplayer environment. This move could generously be described as brave, but playing Gumboy Tournament for any length of time makes it obvious that this is a game both characterised by frustration and frustrated boredom.
In Gumboy Tournament, you must roll against other spherical Gumboys in games of Capture The Flag, Diamond Collection (read: get points) and Checkpoint Racing, which all suffer from only having a few tiny, samey and lifeless arenas that are made even harder to navigate because the stripped-down control system lets you move at a speed akin to a treacle-dunked tortoise. You can control the Gumboy with your keyboard or mouse, the latter being a damn sight more effective, but no less frustrating.
You see, all of the objectives involve some form of accuracy, be it grabbing a flag, hitting another Gumboy, or passing a checkpoint. Yet the Gumboys are floaty, nigh-on impossible to navigate, and move at a speed that’s never up to the task – even when using the woefully short-lived speed power-ups. This means that playing with what few other players are online is genuinely distressing, an endless dance of nine people trying to jump through constantly-moving hoops. Playing against the computer is somehow less fun, as while you lack precision and control, the computer is able to pull off feats of physics wizardry. You’ll watch in awe at the AI’s testicular triumph as they roll their balls into just the right spot, like Ron Jeremy at an as-yet-unnamed Olympic event.
If Gumboy Tournament was a controllable yet dull game it would be passable – maybe even OK. But as it stands its nauseating, greased-pig feel makes it devoid of fun and value. If you’re of a tender disposition, hungover, or prone to travel sickness then this balletic nine-player nut-party will send you running to the toilet.
Jul 25, 2008