January 06, 2019

Big Bash Boom - Review

Cricket games are generally slow experiences, even if you play the equivalent of a single day match, but Big Bash Boom aims to shake that up, is this latest cricket game a six, or does it need to walk back to the stand as a duck.

Big Bash Boom is not the cricket game you might be expecting and if you go in, thinking it's going to offer you a mainstream game, then you are going to be let down, a lot. Instead the game takes the basic of cricket but adds an NBA Jam style of gameplay to it, it’s fast paced and arcade at its core and that is where the game shines. There is very little in the way of obstructions, you select your league, either the BBL or WBBL, then your team, the opposing team and if you don’t change any match settings, you get 5 overs a piece and you’re in, you can literally spam the A button and get yourself into the game with only 4 presses.

Playing the game is pretty straight forward, if you are bowling, you have an indicator on the pitch, to show where the ball will land when you bowl, and each face button is assigned a type of bowling move. Pressing the button will have a bar appear on the side of the pitch, with varying degrees of colours, the smallest section is the one you want to press the button in, as it gives you the best result. If you press it just outside, the ball will not travel at its fastest speed, however if you wait to long or press to soon, you will easily get a no-ball or wide. Once the ball has been hit, if that happens, you have no further control over the players, except for if the ball is about to be caught, you then have to press a button, to basically confirm the catch.

On the flip side, batting has a little more to deal with, not only do you need to aim your shot, you also need to select the shot you are going to play. Timing is crucial though and you need to pay attention to that little reticule from the bowling side, so you know when you begin your shot, if you miss, there is a high likelihood of being bowled out. Once your shot is in the air, if you were not lucky enough to smash it for a six, then then you will need to trigger the run between wickets, assuming you have enough time. I do wish there was more to batting, like being able to control the amount of power you put into your shot, but I found nothing at all like that.

Of course, as the game leans very heavily into the arcade action, is the focus on power ups and celebrations, the powers ups are fun and seeing them in action is a treat, especially if you don’t know what it does. Each time you trigger one, or the AI, you will get a pre-set animation of the character doing it, for some, it can be jumping into the air, flipping around and then landing on the ground, another is doing a ring move from Doctor Strange, which is completed with a similar effect. The other half of that are the celebrations, which are rewarded to you, if you happen to bowl someone out, hit a massive shot and such, activating them can be a little awkward as you need to press and hold some buttons, until the game tells you it’s going to play, then stand back and watch the insane move take place.

Unlocking these, as well as the vast number of hats you can wear, are done by spending coins that you earn, by playing matches. The longer your match, the more you can potentially earn, but be warned you need to play well, simply letting the Ai bowl against you for a full 20/20 match, will not reward you with coins. This is also a bad thing, because you need a lot of coins in order to unlock, even the earlier items, but as a standard match will earn you only a few hundred coins, looking up what to buy and seeing it cost 7,000 means you will have to play a lot. It is made even more frustrating when you consider that the higher cost of items, is upwards of 65,000 coins, you will have to play a lot of cricket in order to get anywhere near close.

If there was one part of the game that really lets it down, its in the overall presentation, whilst the visuals look fine, more on that below, the overall effect is cheap and bland. Each time you start a match, no matter the teams selected or the stadium they are playing in, the animation is the same, the same swinging of the bat, the slight running on the spot, each and every time. The camera pans in the same manner each time as well, which looked cool in the launch trailer, but I was not aware it was the only one, which really sucks. Speaking of camera, there are no camera options in the game, you have no ability to change the height of the camera in play, nor is there any replay options, if you manage to hit a massive six, or make an epic catch, if you miss the action, you don’t get to see it again.

The actual visuals though are solid, if a little underwhelming, the characters look like their real-world counterparts, which is pretty nice, but they come equipped with a giant bobblehead. Thankfully that is not to off putting, and works well, when played against the power-up animations and dance moves that you can see. The stadiums themselves are rendered quite well, they look decent and while I have not been to all of them, they match how I recall seeing them on tv, which is nice, the funniest part of the stadiums though, are the crowds. They will hold up signs when you hit a six or get a 4, just like the crowds do on the tv, complete with someone holding on upside down, again just like real life.

Audio wise, the game is a mixed bag, but that is going to come down to your own personal music tastes as the game features nothing but Australian music, some of which I enjoyed, and others I did not. Outside of the music, apart from some low crowd levels, the only other sound you are going to hear a lot is that of the commentator, Pete Lazer. Your mileage on him will vary, depending on how much you like dad jokes, I love them, but even some of these jokes were a little too dad, which is a thing I assure you. It would have been great to have him working against someone else, providing a little more depth to the commentary, as it stands now, most of what he says are little remarks, that have very little to do with he shots that were just performed, or such, which is a shame.

Big Bash Boom is a solid cricket game, if you ignore the lack of everything but the core parts of the game, think back to the early Cricket games that were all about batting and bowling and you are on track here. The addition of power-ups is fun and can change the game, perfect if it swings it in your favour, not so much if it does not, but combining that, along with the dances, makes for some silly, yet entertaining cricket. Having to spend countless hours unlock content, makes the games length super long, but at the same time, cheapens the entire experience, by forcing you to play so much of it. Anyone who is a fan of the sport will get a kick out of the game, but its overall lack of anything past the basics, will see die hard fans looking elsewhere.

Review copy provided by Big Ant Studios

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