It’s hard to believe it’s been almost four years since Rocket League was released. Its popularity has led to a hardcore eSports scene and hundreds of hours of YouTube tutorials being uploaded. And although the player base has been relatively flat recently, some fans of the game are happy to try out new competitive scenes.
About a year ago, Kabounce released on PC and PS4. Before its existence, it was hard to imagine a multiplayer competitive pinball experience. But now that I’ve logged several hours in tutorials, challenges and matches, I wonder why this game wasn’t developed a long time ago.
This zany competition is described by the developers as a “team versus team, third person, multiplayer pinball game in which you control the ball.” I’m not sure I can describe gameplay better than the dev Stitch Heads can, so here’s their synopsis:
Each match players battle in a team versus team format, hitting bumpers claims them for your team and grants you points. Points can be stolen with pre-selected abilities. Bank points at the goal to add them to your team’s score and prevent the opposing team from stealing them. At the end of each round, the highest scoring team wins.Stitch Heads Entertainment, https://www.kabouncegame.com/
What makes a game like this work is a fully fleshed-out movement system. It’s clear Kabounce developers understood this, as you have complete control over your pinball. With some practice, you can manipulate your ball to fully maneuver across the map in both the 2D and 3D spaces. It’s important to note that – as in real pinball – complete control doesn’t exist. The chaos and randomness of hitting bumpers keeps movement interesting and engaging.
I would argue that matches are more chaotic, complex and stressful than most other competitive multiplayer games. There are many facets of gameplay that require your attention at all times:
- Continuously hitting bumpers to keep your combo multiplier running
- Painting as much of the map your team’s color
- Keeping a wary eye on opponents, as they can steal your points and knock you out of the match at any time
- Planning your movements to steal points from your opponents
I’ll be honest, when I first downloaded Kabounce I didn’t expect to spend much time with it. A friend and I played together and we were guessing we’d play a couple rounds and it would be fun, but we’d move on quickly. That was not the case for either of us. We both had a blast playing and instantly wanted to improve our skills.
Initially, the game proved to be fairly popular. It peaked at about 2,600 players on Steam just a month after release. Sadly, the player base averages between 150 and 250 players as of late. The shame here is that it’s obvious to me that so much love and care was put into the creation of this game. We couldn’t stop repeating ourselves: “This game was incredibly well-built.”
If you want to show the devs some love, you can do so on the cheap right now. Today through July 9th, 2019 you can save 67% on Kabounce on the Steam store, coming in at just under $5. I can guarantee it’ll be worth your time! If you still need to be sold, check out the trailer below: