2020 is a unique year. We have an ongoing pandemic, murder hornets, and there are two stand out games involving animals. The first was Fight Crab and now we have Alpaca Ball Allstars. Like Fight Crab, Alpaca Ball Allstars is a super dumb game. It is ridiculous and it is dumb… but that is what makes it so awesome.
Rocket League introduced jet cars to the sport of soccer and now Alpaca Ball Allstars adds these weird llamas to this foot-based sport. In summary, yeah, it is soccer but played with alpacas. If that statement wasn’t dumb enough, these four-legged animals don’t even kick the ball with their hooves. Instead, they whack the ball with their worm-like necks. One buttons attacks the ball in one direction and the other rotates the neck the opposite direction, essentially mimicking a forward and backward attack. Seeing up to 8 alpacas whacking their rubber necks against each other, trying to mindlessly hit a ball into a goal with rag doll physics, is stupid dumb fun.
Adding to the chaos is the ability to dash with the shoulder buttons and jump with “A.” Temporary power-ups, like giving the player the ability to aim at specific locations or turning them into the Hulk, makes the experience even more arcadey. Even the ball itself can change. The intentionally loose play control becomes even more random when playing with a football, a hockey puck, a cube ball, or even a bomb. The ridiculous factor has been turned up to 11 here so there are plenty of options to keep the experience fresh.
The single player experience also presents itself differently to the player. Instead of simply playing one match after the next, the player controls your chosen alpaca on an overworld map and freely walks to each destination. It is totally unnecessary but provides even more alpaca-based charm even if the story is just as dumb as the gameplay. There are other minor, unnecessary details that further enhance the over-the-top stupidity. Messing around within the after-game trophy screen serves no purpose but is good for a laugh, or jumping and spinning during the slow-mo goal celebration is like jumping through a door in the original Mega Man titles – you can’t not do it.
The AI of the bot alpacas is also surprisingly well done. Thing is, there is no set goalie or set positions. Thankfully, one of the alpaca bots usually stays behind and fulfills the role of goalie or defenseman. The player has zero direct and indirect control of how the fellow squad reacts so it is pretty cool that they have a mind of their own and usually act accordingly. It is this competent AI that, mixed with the dumb fun and random nature of the gameplay, that makes each match worth playing.
With numerous options and purposely wobbly gameplay, Alpaca Ball Allstars is more fun than it should be. Not to be confused with low quality, this unexpected sport-sim is just super dumb all the way around. But that is exactly the reason why you should check it out.
Also available on Steam.
Not Quite As Good As: Sega Soccer Slam (GameCube)
Also Try: 3-on3 Free Style
Wait For It: a Super Mario Strikers sequel