Saying #IDARB is fun doesn’t do it justice. Saying it’s joyous, intense and engrossing, doesn’t say nearly enough. To describe it as highly competitive, lightning fast and powerfully compelling isn’t nearly enough, not nearly enough to fully describe the #IDARB experience. Adjectives just aren’t going to do it. I’m going to spend 700 words now trying to convince you of its quality, its fecund fun, but you really must play it to fully understand. You must play it, you should play it and I hope you will play it, because it’s an absolutely brilliant party game.
Wonderfully, for Xbox Live Gold subscribers, it’ll cost you nothing to try #IDARB out as it joins the Games with Gold promotion in February. For everyone else, I implore you to pick it up; you seldom see a game quite like this. Other Ocean, didn’t go into #IDARB’s development with their minds’ made up, instead they took to Twitter with an image of a red box and the comment “It draws a red box” and asked where they should go from there. A flood of tweets came pouring in and Other Ocean began implementing and experimenting with the many ideas until the eSport #IDARB was formed: a cross between an arena ball game and Super Smash Bros. with a bit of Bomberman thrown in there for good measure.
Up to eight players take to the arena and aim to score as many points as possible by navigating the platforms, dodging players, and throwing the ball into their opponent’s goal. The further you are away from the goal when the ball sails in, the more points you earn. Furthermore, a multiplier is implemented depending on completed passes and ball bounces to enhance the point total of a goal even more. All the while your opponents and even you team mates, can attack you and steal the ball, flinging it and you across the arena, or leaving you dazed for a moment. Add to that the a penalty box you’re banished to for idling inside a goal where you can jump to raise temporary spikes, the lightning fast speed and Twitter Bombs that bring about all manner of consequences and you’ve got yourself a confusing, schizophrenic, intense, and marvellous spot of intractable fun.
#IDARB is intrinsically linked to Twitter and Twitch, with its Twitter feed scrolling during matches, it’s seamless broadcasting, its crowd-sourced development roots, highly watchable nature, and the neat way you can troll other players with Twitter Bombs. Each match has its own Twitter hash tag generated and shown at the top left of the screen. Through Twitter or Twitch you can affect a game by using its unique hash tag and adding a multitude of others that bring about real-time changes, such as: #flood which floods the arena, or #light which envelopes it in darkness, and dozens more. It’s a superb way to bring in further interaction through social media and have fun without actually playing.
Additionally, #IDARB is highly customisable, featuring a character creator where you can build your own team pixel by pixel and even a music creator. Each of these also marvellously generates a QR code for sharing your creations online and implementing them in-game with Kinect.
As you can imagine for an eSport party game, it’s the multiplayer that really shines. Having eight players vie for the ball, frantically hopping from platform to platform passing, tackling, and shooting is an incredible and overwhelming sight. The pace is blindingly fast and keeping up with it is a real challenge, but you’ll rarely find success in button mashing. #IDARB is intelligently designed and relies more on skill and teamwork to rack up that score.
Unfortunately getting friends together to play can be awkward. Locally it’s a breeze and you can even have eight controllers linked to a single Xbox One, but with no match making options present, teaming up online isn’t currently on the table. Additionally you’re limited to auto-searching for online games with the same number of players you have locally signed in. There is also a single player mode, which gradually adds more players to your team as you beat a set of opponents, as well offering up some brilliant writing, funny banter between matches.
#IDARB is an excellent party game that induces laughs aplenty whilst offering a competition that requires skill and focus yet is easy to pick up and play. It may lack match making options and it needs them to truly become the best it can be, but its Twitter and Twitch integration is unique and clever, and with or without friends it’s still oodles of frantic, fantastic fun.
Thanks to Plan of Attack for supplying TiX with a download code
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