Sunday, January 9, 2011

Appare Gateball

Hudson Soft / Azuma

I'm not going to explain how the game of gateball works, as that would be boring, but suffice it to say it's a ball-and-mallet croquet sort of thing and its rules are easy to pick up on in this video context.

It's a straightforward kind of competition, but Appare here lets you "customize" your experience, offering two types of playing surfaces, three play modes, and a dozen nutty characters to choose from.

Despite that remarkable cornucopia of options, the game lacks charisma and can be quite boring. The characters look like wackos in their "close-ups," but they're all business when they hit the court. There are no celebrations when a tough shot is nailed, no displays of frustration when a foul-up occurs, no sideline-clearing brawls when one player screws over another. Yeah, I'm being a little silly here, but something could've been done to liven up the proceedings.

Sadly, a lot of players will find Appare not only boring but awful through and through. Its graphics are dreadfully primitive, and its targeting/shot-power system never truly feels reliable or precise.

I'm no gateball fan, but I do know that someone doesn't need to follow or enjoy a particular sport to have a good time with a video-game representation of it. I'll never be able to sit through a round of golf, but I poured plenty of hours into PGA Tour. There are many people (read: fools) out there who dislike hockey, but everyone played and loved NHL on Genesis. Unlike the aforementioned classics, Appare isn't going to make a convert out of anybody; but I wouldn't say that it makes a mockery of gateball (which is actually considered quite exciting by a lot of people who know the ins and outs of it), and I do get some enjoyment out of playing a good round and using a little strategy to screw over my opponents.

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