Given the amount of time just one AAA sports title can consume, it is very easy to lose sight of the many indie and alternative sports games released in a year. Furthermore, while I certainly recommend the brutal joys of the ultra-violent, 8-bit fencing game Nidhogg, I understand that it’s not for everyone. But I believe plenty other sports games can be enjoyed by all types of gamers, it’s just a question of finding the right game.
My goal is to open your eyes by highlighting a handful of sports titles that may have slipped under your radar. Maybe you’ll find your new favorite game. Maybe you’ll hate every last one of these. But at the very least, you’ll be more familiar with some new and different sports games.
Here are four recommended titles slated for release this fall:
100ft Robot Golf
October 10 for PlayStation 4
Barring a dramatic creative departure, 100ft Robot Golf consists of various mechs that project to be roughly 3,048 centimeters in height playing a delightfully vicious version of the 15th century Scottish craze. As if that wasn’t enough to entice you, there’s more to 100ft Robot Golf than the thrillingly reckless “Destruction Golf” mode.
There’s a full-on solo campaign, support for online and local multiplayer, a robot customization suite, and a number of rules to tweak your game. If you ever felt that your Mario Golf needed more War of the Monsters (and if you haven’t, you’re lying), then you may sleep comfortably knowing that 100ft Robot Golf is headed your way soon.
Football Manager 2017
November 4 for PC
Ah, yes, the manager simulation. Everyone has their favorite. While Baseball Mogul and Out of the Park Baseball allow your present author to experiment with the wildest baseball roster and pitching staff combinations, there was always something inherently engaging about bringing a football (or ‘soccer’ depending on your geographic location) squad from the depths of irrelevance to the top of the league tables.
Football Manager, for those unaware, combines dizzying levels of on-field strategy with remarkable off-field managerial depth. Tracking your squad’s progress throughout the season scratches a certain itch that only stellar franchise modes can get just right.
Those (myself included) who feel the need to skip a year in a perennial sports franchise from time to time should know that last year’s iteration saw the inclusion of a much-needed Create-a-Club mode. Fear not, however, as the manager avatars appear to remain as nightmare-inducing as always.
RIGS Mechanized Combat League
October 13 for PlayStation 4 VR
Is it a shooter? Is it a basketball game? Since the early days of Grifball in Halo, first-person shooters have always shown the sports world a little love. Who can blame them, really? Both genres see teams of varying sizes competing in an enclosed arena in the hopes of amassing points in a variety of manners.
In fact, shooters have gradually adapted more and more sports elements, culminating in full-on sports-style modes in blockbuster titles like Call of Duty: Black Ops III and Overwatch. None, however, have tantalized us with a full-on single-player career mode and bonkers multiplayer like RIGS.
RIGS is simple. Goals are scored when players jump through designated hoops, but it’s far easier said than done when another team is trying to quite literally shoot you down. The comparisons to Rocket League will appear anywhere you look, and if RIGS can carry that kind of momentum, it could be a tour de force for PS VR. It requires the PS VR and releases October 13.
Remember the first time you played an SSX game? That feeling of an endless world of unbridled discovery? The rush you felt as you carved up the otherwise pristine mountain? The tightness of the controls and the beautiful scenery? Hopefully we’ll be able to celebrate that joy all over again.
Steep, developed by Ubisoft Annecy, has all the makings of being one of this fall’s sleeper hits. This daunting extreme winter sports simulator places players on a tremendous open-world mountain that is shared by all players. One could technically classify it as an MMO extreme winter sports game.
Steep has something for the adventurer in all of us. Ubisoft announced four different play styles on their UbiBlog: Explorer, Freestyler, Bone Collector and Freerider. Explorer rewards players for, you guessed it, exploring the ends of the mountain. Freestyler rewards players for tricks, and Bone Collector rewards players for brutal crashes. Freerider wraps it all together and benchmarks whether or not you took full advantage of your stunning surroundings.
Races and challenges are automatically recorded and loaded with metadata, and players can create and share their own challenges. There’s even a Go-Pro mode where players can view their terrifying trip down the mountain in first-person mode, which, with a VR headset, makes the game even more appealing to me. Just make sure your Vornado is at full blast and is a foot away from your face to maximize the experience.