A month or so ago I was lucky enough to get an early code for a game I knew little about. #IDARB or for its full title: “It Draws A Red Box” gives very little away in what might be involved… You draw squares? They’re red? No idea. I threw the code into my Xbox and waited for it to download.
The Xbox One has no shortage of smaller arcade type games, many are fun but don’t last particularly long (and I’ll be completely honest, many I’ve played for easy achievements to grow my meaningless gamerscore) However after only my first game I knew this was different.
The idea of the game couldn’t be simpler, get the ball that spawns in the middle of the field into the opposing teams goal (Similar to a 2D ice hockey or basketball game) You jump around the multi tiered level as a little 2D character and can pass the ball to anyone else who may be playing alongside you. The game supports up to 8 players and the matches are frantic, chaotic and most importantly, fun. So much fun. You score more points the longer the shot you pull off and can knock the ball out of the opponents hands by getting close and blasting them with your force field. The games are broken up into 4 rounds and halfway through you get treated to a little competitive challenge to try win some extra points for your team. Some of the mini games hark right back to the 80’s with similarities to the button mashing track & field games, tank warfare and even duck shoot.
The game includes a single player mode where you complete levels to build up your team with characters taken from the squad you beat. The levels get gradually harder as you progress, adding more and more players thus making it harder to focus on the one character you control. It also involves a lot of help from the AI which you can only command to pass the ball, its fun for a while but this is not where the games full course meal with chocolate pudding is served, for that you need friends, either on the couch next to you or waiting for you online.
The game has simple yet addictive gameplay as its backbone but what makes this game really stand out is its venture into social media…. Primarily twitter and twitch. #Hashbombs is where it’s at! In the top right of the screen there is a code for that particular game, any friends watching (either on the couch or through twitch) can @thegamecode and then #Hashbomb them. Hashbombs are still being discovered but there’s a large amount now on the internet to try out. My personal favourite so far is the #Ricky which will cause Rick Astley to dance across the screen complete with “never gonna give you up” playing over the game’s soundtrack (truly RickRolled). There are many other hashbombs to such as #Flood which will cause the pitch to fill with water, #Minecraft changes the world into minecraft blocks for a few moments, #Bomb makes the ball explode sending the carrier straight to the penalty box, #Block closes the goals for a short amount of time and many more! Theres a lot of fun to be had with this genius little feature and will only get more popular as people get online and start streaming on twitch.
Another great feature is the sheer amount of customisation that is available to you. You can create every little 2D character you play with. Want a team made up of the ninja turtles? Sure! Want a team consisting of the Avengers? Get creating! Building them up from different coloured blocks takes only a couple of minutes and if creating isn’t your thing then you have the option to import other people’s creations thanks to the games inclusion of a QR code. Every character made features a QR code to the right, scan it from a website using kinect and it will instantly appear in the game. I had a few issues getting the kinect to read some of these codes however after a few attempts I did get them to work. It’s not only characters you can create too… You can design the logo and even jump into the midi maker and create a theme tune to play in the event of a victory. (Tetris blasts out when my Santa and his little helpers destroy the competition)
#IDARB will be launching in February on the Xbox one FOR FREE if you have Xbox live gold! Its Microsoft’s games with gold title and is by far the best one offered since it started. You cannot miss out on this game, its one of the best couch multiplayer games out there and I have a feeling this is going to sell a LOT of extra controllers. Simple yet addictive, very much a community game and I’m very excited to see the world discover this little gem.