The joy of multiplayer carnage is a beautiful thing to behold. When a game gets it just right, you can be playing a seemingly silly or stupid game for hours on end having a blast. Enter Alpaca Ball Allstars – one of those elite games that gets it right.
Alpaca Ball Allstars takes the premise of football but removes all the rules and replaces the players with alpacas. You can play with up to 4 players per side making it an 8 player game which works nicely with remote steam play as a combination of many. You can even have a lopsided 3 vs 4 if you like but very competent AI can step in to fill any hooves missing. The AI brain took me by surprise too – they play very well and as a team in their harder difficulties. You’ll have a challenge against them and the fun and silly single player campaign will show this off as you collect more customisable alpaca designs.
The crucial reason why this game works so well is down to the way the alpacas handle. They are responsive to your controls and movements, have a decent jump button and have two ways they can kick the ball. One will shoot the ball towards the goal, the other will kick it behind themselves. You just need to make sure you are facing the right way otherwise you’ll be scoring own goals like a champ. This responsiveness is then balanced out with the wobbly party physics of their necks and heads. You see they are nosing the ball along and you can scoop the ball with your neck too but if you’ve got up to 8 necks flying for one ball – someone is going to get hurt. This results in a tangled web of necks bouncing off each other and comedy explosions as you ram head on into another alpaca and they go flying. Its this unpredictability, balanced out with sturdy controls that makes the game so enjoyable to play. I love Gang Beasts but my god those controls are woeful all the time – here you have a solid base to return to whenever carnage ensues.
Whilst different arenas from around the world (primarily in South America though) change the aesthetic, the game remains the same. What can change is the ball you play with. You can swap the football out for a rugby ball that bounces everywhere, a beach ball that gets a lot of air, a puck that slides around everywhere and yes… even a bomb. Expect alpaca’s flying every few seconds with that one. Whilst stage specific changes would have been lovely, the ball changes a lot of things for each game played.
The game also has a unique approach to powerups. You don’t collect them, they are given in rotation to a randomly predetermined order at the start of the match. Some of them make you big, make everyone else small, lets you charge or even makes the ball sentient. As they can be very powerful, often you’ll be looking at trying to stay 2 goals ahead of your opponent as if they get a lucky run of powerups, you could be overhauled quickly.
Alpaca Ball Allstars is simply a carnival of joy to play. It has a beaming smile on its face from the customisation options, to the colour palette and carnival soundtrack. The physics are perfect on the ground and perfectly chaotic in a fight. This needs to be on your party game list ASAP. Superb.
Alpaca Ball: Allstars
A fine example of local multiplayer gaming done right. With cute, fluffy animals and bombs. What could go wrong?
Easy to pick up.
Puts a joyous smile on your face.
Surprisingly well adjusted AI that act as a team and don't just chase a ball.
Local multiplayer gem.
Lack of modes means if you don't like the basic score a goal premise, you might struggle a bit.
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