By: Quinn Potter
#IDARB (“It Draws a Red Box”) is a weird title for a weird, multiplayer old-school kind-of-sports/team-oriented game. So while it’s got the quirky part down, the question is whether or not it’s any fun.
Controls are responsive and well placed. You can’t remap them, but you don’t need to as they’re exactly what you’d expect. “A” is used to jump and the triggers can emit an electronic pulse.
Graphics are good in an old-school way. Choose your character in a super-pixelated intro screen. Big chunky blocks make up the playing field. Character choices are odd and amusing, such as bacon, eggs, a cow, fire, or various humans. You can mess around in this section for a bit to create your own logo or music, too — or you can import both logo and music into the game with a QR code.
That definitely gives #IDARB some bonus points for open-ended creativity. This also gives you a clue about the origins of #IDARB and the complete originality here. Many of the characters were actually created by gamers, and, once the game goes live, viewers will be able to impact the game as they follow along on Twitch and Twitter feeds.
Once you get to the game, there’s no real depth or nuanced artistry to the boldly colored setting, but that fits the game perfectly. The screen is a bit cluttered with a Twitter bird in the upper left and Twitter feed scrolling across the bottom. The game is super-fast and has bold graphics to begin with, so adding multiple players and making the screen more cluttered might be too much for some to enjoy.
On the audio side, there’s a steady rhythm of heavy metal thrusting away while you try to score. The announcer makes a lot of random statements (“Score! I’ll have what she’s having!” “Score! You’re on a mission from God!!” “Goal! This is Chinatown.”) The statements actually aren’t random, but if you’re not over 30, you probably haven’t acquired the vast repertoire of movie quotes needed to get that’s what the announcer is referring to.
This is a throwback to the awesome 80s. Back in the previous millennium, gamers used to walk to the arcade, slide a few coins into the game of our choice and watch the credits scroll, including a nice little reminder that “Winners don’t use drugs.”# IDARB starts the same way.
A hyper-pixilated intro gives you a choice to play on your own or with others (local or online). Once the game starts, well, it’s like nothing you’ve ever seen before. Your character hops on columns and bounces up and down, trying to shoot a ball into a goal to score. The word GOAL!!! will take over the whole screen whenever you do this.
There are five rounds that last between one and two minutes each. There’s no real narrative to drive the action, you’re just bouncing around, navigating the field to see what you can do to score a goal. In single player, there are four different levels with various people to play against as you work your way up a level.
It’s hard to know how online play / matchplay would work since I previewed the game before the official release, but it seems like a positive direction. Having a full team with eight players should give you incentive to create your own logo, make up a team chant or song, and it’ll add to the adrenalin rush of having to respond to spectator demands from Twitch and Twitter.
By the way, if you leave #IDARB and let it get lonely, a video will start blasting from the #IDARB tile on the Xbox One homescreen. (That can get a little obnoxious – a bit like the game itself.)
This one’s definitely a bit of an oddball. #IDARB throws a bunch of old-school graphics, one-liners from movies and boppy music into a video arcade setting, then amps up the volume and speeds up the action. Strange days, indeed. There’s some more potential to unlock here once the spectators start interacting with teams of players, so it’s definitely worth a look.