Regular Human Basketball Review
Regular Human Basketball is a PC title from the same developers who made Crawl, another fantastic multiplayer game.
By: Stewart Leadingham (StewThePoo), on 04/09/2020.
Regular Human Basketball is a PC title from the same developers who made Crawl. (another fantastic multiplayer game) There's a free version of this game up on their Itcho page (https://powerhoof.itch.io/regular-human-basketball ) but I recommend supporting them and getting the Steam version. It's quite often on sale and is already quite cheap and worth the price.
Now before I get into the bulk of the review I must let you all know, if you're looking for a single player experience, look elsewhere. There isn't even an option to play with bots sadly. But this game more then makes up for that shortcoming with its hilarity and accessibility.
Sadly the online community is dead.
So a quick rundown of basic gameplay. 2 giant robots are controlled by opposing teams of pink & green. There are various buttons inside each mechanical basketball avatar which controls the treads, magnet power and rotation (used to grab the basketball) and jet packs. The aim of the game is simply shoot a hoop. You've got the choice of either timed or point based matches.
You can have any team composition you fancy of any 10 players. (that's right, it goes up to 10 players) You could even try 1 vs 9.
Protip. Have all the controllers connected on the title screen. If you do it in the lobby it gets a bit wonky.
I've used the steam remote play feature to play a online `local` session with 4 people and the small bit of lag from streaming the game that way was perfectly manageable. But obviously local multiplayer is where this game shines best. I used a steam link when I played it, as its the easiest way to get lots of controllers connected with minimal fuss.
The visuals are simple, colourful and easy to read. If a little unremarkable.
The core gameplay might sound simple, but trying to get a feel for how the tank handles in the beginning and learning each button is chaotic like nothing else. Those first few moments of gameplay, with all players frantically trying to keep their machines upright and coordinate an offensive is the stuff of multiplayer magic.
Sadly there are only 2 robots to play with. They handle identically and the level variety is lacking. There are 6 stages, some with switches to mix up the terrain, warp pipes to teleport players and the ball. But most are just different inclines and colour palettes.
Having such simple graphics helps a lot when the camera zooms out.
It would have been nice to have some kind of tournament setup mode to increase to the player count even higher, but what's here is solid. The core gameplay will definitely bring this game into a lot of multiplayer enthusiasts libraries.
Music is serviceable, the real audio highlight is the robot commentators. Good luck hearing them on top of all the boisterous chatter though. Teamwork will require a lot of verbal communication.
I'm hesitant to talk more in depth about the gameplay itself for fear of ruining the magic of discovery but I'll be brief. The magnet can be turned on and off to grab the basketball and then shoot once switched again. The rotation of the magnet can go 100% clockwise no matter what position your robot is in, so managing the ball position on top of however your getting knocked around becomes hilarious and frustrating in equal measure.
The jetpacks have the same quirk, where they can keep rotating completely clockwise, so if you don't manage them carefully you'll careen right into the ground, freeing up aerial space for your opponent to take advantage of.
One of the games that's just as fun to spectate as it is to play.
And I haven't even mentioned the funniest offensive tactic yet.
You can board your opponents ships.
In one particularly heated game, I hopped into the opposing team ship and released their magnet while they were aiming the ball at their own hoop and I managed to score myself a goal.
It took about 2 solid minutes of them screaming, levying the blame at each other before I felt proud enough to own up to what I'd done.
These kind of emergent situations are what elevate the game for me. It is sorely lacking in some respects, but it shines where it counts.