Hitting Balls With Sticks Through Music
It is easy to tell that Super Beat Sports is a product of Harmonix, the developers of Rock Band, as the focus on music and rhythm is the key gameplay element. Originally released on Apple TV, this Switch port has some exclusive features and positions itself as a $14.99 eShop party game.
Super Beat Sports is composed of five mini games. Although each game is visually different, each one is essentially the same – whack a ball back and forth to the beat of music. With no worthwhile unlockables and only a local high score table, the lack of progression and non-catchy soundtrack feels hollow and only mildly entertaining in short bursts.
Whacky Bat is a spin on baseball in which the player hits pitches from Muzicalians, cartoonish looking aliens. Pitching from multiple lanes and different speeds and curves, the goal is to return each hit in succession to build a streak for higher point totals. This mode is for 1-2 players.
Net Ball is basically volleyball only with sticks which actually makes it more like a game of tennis. Also for 1-2 players, the difference here is that sometimes the ball with bounce back and forth between computer AI characters before coming to you.
Buddy Ball is like a new take on Whacky Bat in which the player hits a ball back to one of three characters. Depending on who returns it, it will come back to the player at different speeds. Instead of playing until a song ends, the last player standing wins. 1-4 players.
In Gobble Golf, the player has to hit golf balls into the mouths of aliens on the other side of the screen according to the music. Upon success, the alien with retreat and put up a white flag. 1-2 players.
Finally, exclusive to the Switch version, Rhythm Racket is basically a 1-4 player of Pong and is the most complex. Like all the other games, the goal is to tap the button in sync with the music. If done perfectly, the player will send the ball across the court while opening control of neutral alien defenders. This mode is also for 1-4 players.
Although each game features a different skin, they are all essentially the same. There are over 100 levels to play through, and even an optional Pro Mode, but everything gets repetitive. Each tune also lack any significant personality, especially for a title geared solely around music. The Mii-like visual style fits the bubbly personality of the cartoony vibe but also doesn’t stand out against the other quality Switch titles currently available.
Not as catchy or memorable as PaRappa, not as challenging as Rhythm Heaven, and not as entertaining as Mario Party, Super Beat Sports is a reactive experience based around repetition. While it isn’t a bad game, as there is some fun to be had in short bursts if you have a buddy to play with, I was hoping for something a little extra coming from this $15 digital download.
Better Than: Astro Bears Party
Also Try: Game & Watch Gallery (Gameboy or 3DS Virtual Console)
Wait For it: Party Planet (Switch)