Overlooked Sports Games of 2012
Submitted on: 10/30/2012 by Jayson Young
College Lacrosse 2012 (Xbox 360)
Lacrosse is one of the fastest growing American sports, with many new high school and collegiate programs being added each year throughout the United States. To date, only one company has ever attempted a video game adaptation of lacrosse. Complete Games, founded by Robert Morris University lacrosse coach, Carlo Sunseri. Sunseri has quietly released a new lacrosse game on the Xbox 360 Indie channel every year since 2009.
College Lacrosse 2012 is the latest and greatest version of the three-year-old College Lacrosse franchise, featuring head-to-head online play, offline season mode, a stable of generic, fully editable teams and intuitive dual joystick controls ala EA Sports' NHL series.
As College Lacrosse 2012 was coded by a team of about a dozen people, it obviously can't compete with million-dollar productions like FIFA or Madden. Nonetheless, for only $5, fans of lacrosse or anyone looking to try a new, affordable sports title should check out the free College Lacrosse 2012 demo on the Xbox 360 Indie channel.
Jonah Lomu Rugby Challenge (PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, Xbox 360, PC)
In contrast to lacrosse, the sport of rugby is virtually unknown in the United States while remaining a huge event in Europe, Australia and New Zealand. For that reason, rugby games over the years have traditionally only released in the PAL region, covering Europe, Asia, Australia, South America and Africa.
The developers behind Jonah Lomu Rugby Challenge weren't content with simply bringing rugby to U.S. gamers; rather, they have brought out the deepest, best-playing rugby game to date. New Zealand developer, Sidhe Interactive, has been making rugby video games as far back as 2003, and the company's expertise with the sport is reflected in Jonah Lomu Rugby Challenge's impressive depth and winning form.
The offline club career mode spans 13 years. Online modes include basic 1 vs. 1 matches as well as 4 vs. 4 online team play. Jonah Lomu Rugby Challenge has the most licensed content ever in a rugby game, offering 90 licensed teams and 30 real world stadiums. Many great user-made roster files are also available for free download, adding even more authenticity to the experience.
Originally a fully featured, $60 release, Jonah Lomu Rugby Challenge is currently available for $17.79 on Xbox 360, $45.13 on PlayStation 3, $21.99 on PC and $70.86 on PlayStation Vita.
Downtown Smash Dodgeball! (Xbox 360)
Technos Japan's Super Dodgeball series simply refuses to retire. The original 1987 arcade game is 25 years old, and Technos itself went bankrupt way back in 1996, but still, employees who worked on the original title continue to find work and create sequels to the long-running dodgeball franchise.
The 1988 NES port remains the most well-known version of Super Dodgeball, and fans of that cart will love this unofficial Xbox 360 downloadable sequel from Japanese developer Miracle Kidz.
The same 2D, sprite-based gameplay returns, with power shots and jump attacks being executed via the classic two-button control scheme. Though there's no online play, two-player couch battles are as intense as ever, especially now that screen flicker has been removed and widescreen support is in. You could make an argument for the 1996 Neo Geo version still being the undisputed king of the court, but for only $10, Downtown Smash Dodgeball! is a winning update to a timeless franchise.
Qoccer (Xbox 360)
It takes a lot of creativity to make a turn-based soccer game appealing, and one-man developer Victor Ortega has done just that with the weird and wild Qoccer.
In Qoccer, teams of three cube-shaped players hurl themselves at a single soccer ball in hopes of pushing it into the opposing side's open goal.
A turn consists of both teams adjusting the power and angle at which their players will throw themselves at the ball. Then when both teams are finished "winding up" their players, the A button is pressed and chaos ensues as the cubes go flying off in every direction.
A brilliant physics engine renders multiple collisions without a hitch, often creating hysterical outcomes where both the ball and players get tossed in unsought directions.
Strategy is paramount, as recklessly chasing after the ball with all your cube men will often leave an open field behind you and an easy tap-in for the opponent.
Qoccer's lack of online play is its only weakness, but with a low asking price of $1, limiting multiplayer to offline only is understandable. Outside-the-box thinking has all but disappeared from the sports genre in recent years, and Qoccer is well-worth the download if you're searching for a sports game that has more in mind than a simple roster update.