Alpaca Ball: Allstars is an upcoming soccer game from Austrian developer Salt Castle Studio. It features alpaca using their long necks as clubs to score goals. I will buy it when it launches on October 15. I hope developers never stop making games that are just “soccer but silly.”
While this is a relatively recent trend, one must not forget the silly soccer games of the past that paved the way. Classic games (oh god I’m old) like 2002’s Sega Soccer Slam and 2005’s Super Mario Strikers took the world’s most beloved sport and injected it with exaggerated special moves. They were like how real professional soccer must appear to ants.
Modern fascination with the silly soccer game arguably kicked off in 2015 with Rocket League, which allows players to pull off death-defying stunts in a vehicular version of the popular sport. It has since been followed by several similar games, both full releases and mini-games within larger projects.
After first appearing in 2016, Overwatch’s Lúcioball has been a constant of the competitive shooter’s yearly Summer Games event. 2017’s Behold the Kickmen combines soccer with aspects of baseball and basketball. Fall Guys’ best mini-game, Fall Ball, is soccer if every player was a bean person and constantly dizzy from performing headers on a ball three times their size. Captain Tsubasa: Rise of New Champions, released today, is as over-the-top as its manga and anime roots suggest. And now, Alpaca Ball takes one of nature’s biggest jerks and gives them a chance to use their amplified anatomy for our entertainment.
Soccer is so ubiquitous to global life because of its simplicity, both in terms of rules and setup. This general familiarity makes it perfect fodder for video games, especially those that take the time to bend its format a bit. There’s just something innately satisfying about setting up a teammate with the perfect assist or knocking an opponent’s shot away at the last second that’s hard to find in other games.
So please, developers of the world, I’m begging you: Keep making these silly soccer games.