Game Design, Game Reviews

Woodball – a lesson in how to digitize your favourite games

iconToday I will be reviewing Woodball, a competitive pseudo-sports game for Android devices designed by Simge Simulation.

In short, Woodball is a well built, high quality game that captures the essence of a mobiAvailable on Google Playle multiplayer game. With both local multiplayer and ranked online play, it gives a high replay value; all while evoking a heavy case of nostalgia with its high-school theme.

In the game, the player is presented with a wooden football field (hence the name) on which nails have been strategically placed to get in the way.

Instead of a ball, the player uses a coin (which is why it is reminiscent of high school) and the goal is obviously to place the coin behind the nails and into the net.

wood1

Woodball might remind you of your high school days and that is always a plus.

Various modes to keep you busy

At the start of the game, the player chooses if he will play a single-player game versus the AI, a local multiplayer against a living opponent, or an online multiplayer match.

He then chooses the score which determines the winner, and he’s set and ready to play.

There are two ways to play the game, you can either pull and release the coin to send it flying, or you can flick it forward. Both types of play are well built and the real-life physics are authentic.

The woodball field is fairly large, with a total of 42 nails hammered around, which is why the camera can be rotated to get a better view of the next shot.

There are also two ways to play the local multiplayer, either with both players looking at the screen from the same side, or both players have their own side. Each way works nicely and simply depends on your playstyle.

When it comes to online multiplayer, the game offers two ways – a classic multiplayer game or a World Cup competition. The classic multiplayer matches you up with other people all around the world in a single game of Woodball.

The World Cup is a yet unreleased mode, but I’m guessing it will be of similar format to the football world cup, pitting people from all around the world together, first in a group style, and then in a knock out phase, until only one player remains. However, in order to compete in the World cup, there are no qualifying rounds per se – you have to pay 5,000 coins to get in.

The virtual currency

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Scoring is not as easy as it looks on this picture.

There are a number of ways players can earn coins in the game. Winning awards gives the player five coins, while watching video ads gives 10 coins. I really like the video ad idea, as it works for everyone – players will want to watch the ads as it gives them the much needed in-game currency to progress; advertisers will want to be there because in such an environment they are not considered annoying and people will actually pay attention to what they’re watching and lastly – the game developers, who will earn money for their troubles.

A win-win-win situation.

The game also spawns silver and gold coins which the player can earn if he’s skilled enough to pick them up with his own coin during the game. The gold one is worth three coins, while the silver one is worth one coin.

Still, I can’t shake the feeling that 5,000 coins is just too much to enter a competition you can be eliminated from in four to six games. Imagine, if you can watch a video ad before every game, win every single one and collect a couple of coins, you would still need 250 games just to enter the competition. And of course, you won’t be able to win 250 games in a row. You better make those rewards good!

Still, looking at the game as a whole, I think it’s an amazing product. Even though the emphasis is on the gameplay, it has solid 3D graphics. The game offers both single and multi-player modes, with both offering different playstyles and variants. The virtual economy system is solid, and offers the player an extra motive to play, collect and enter a big competition.

All of that comes on a wooden board which will bring back those high school memories (at least for the older bunch of us) when we played woodball on an old school desk between classes.

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