I think we can all agree that the best kind of sports is a fake one, right? After all, who wants to bat a ball around in a crowded stadium when you can instead fly around on a broomstick trying to bludger the smirk off of Draco Malfoy? Madden may forever be one of the top selling games every year, but for my money, I’d rather send a frog flying through the air via catapult. Thus, Versus Mode for this month takes a look at two of the only sports games I’ve ever spent more than fifty cents on, in what I like to call:
THE BATTLE OF THE SPORTS GAMES BASED ON SPORTS THAT DON’T ACTUALLY EXIST
Harry Potter: Quidditch World Cup (PS2): What more can be said about this game that hasn’t already been covered in my review several months back, and Julie’s “Games for the Casual Gamer” a few months later? The game is set up more-or-less like any generic hockey or soccer game, with one notable exception: you, your teammates, and your opponents are all riding atop magical broomsticks. One issue this game has is that it isn’t particularly accessible to new players — you have to go through all the training exercises and play a handful of games before you have a firm grasp of how the controls work and what you’re actually supposed to be doing. For this reason, Quidditch World Cup isn’t the best game to be playing with your friends — the only one who will enjoy the game is the one who owns the title.
Ribbit King (PS2): Lovingly referred to as “Frog Golf”, Ribbit King seems to loosely be based on a Beavis and Butthead t-shirt that the smelly kid in my middle school wore several times per week. Basically, you’ve got a catapult, a mallet, and a very brave frog. The frog gets sent flying into the air by your malicious protagonist, in hopes of scoring more points than and getting into the hole before your opponents. Ribbit King is much more pick-up-and-play than is Quidditch, in that the controls are familiar to anyone whose ever played a golf game. And even if neither Hotshots nor Toadstool Tour are your cup of digital tea, it isn’t at all hard to learn the ways of Ribbit King. Unfortunately, however, Ribbit King does not feature any officially licensed underage fictional wizards, so it might be harder to get your girlfriend into it.
Both of these games, as of the time this issue went out, have yet to be adapted into real life sports, and this is unfortunate. It’s not like either frogs or flying broomsticks have anything better to do with their time than be abused for our amusement, eh? If the games were real, however, I imagine Quidditch would be more fun to actually play than Ribbit King, because flying around on a broomstick seems like it would be more enjoyable than launching a frog towards an ominous sphere decorated with the number 100. But we’re talking video games, and the better title here is Ribbit King, due to its intuitive controls, its goofy storyline, and the good times caused by its multiplayer mode.
Winner: Ribbit King (PS2)