Every so often we see games that take the sports genre, turn it on its head and do something totally different. Take Rocket League for instance, who knew that football with cars would become such a global phenomenon in the gaming world. Guts ‘N Goals is now available on the Xbox family of consoles along with Playstation, Nintendo Switch and PC. Developed by CodeManu and published by PM Studios this title aims to send players on a boisterous arcade-style soccer match. There is a twist though, you have to beat up others along the way as well as the ball as you are armed with a bat. It is a smack-tastic fight to score as many goals as possible before the final whistle blows.
The only mode that appears to be available at the launch of Guts ‘N Goals is the frantic and fun Grand Prix mode. To start off with you will learn the basics of how the gameplay works. The premise is very simple, it is a game of football (soccer for the Americans in the room). The difference here is that you must hit the ball with a bat in order to manoeuvre the ball to the opposing goal. You can also use the said bat to beat the crap out of the rival team in melee combat in order to prevent them from scoring. The first team to score two goals wins the game and onto the next round you go as the winning side.
How’s the gameplay?
Now we have the concept explained, the question is how does the game feel to play? The pace is fast, frenetic and sometimes out of control. A simple hit of the ball sees it traverse a small distance, charged shots allow the bag of air to travel further at the expense of the few seconds it takes to generate the charge up. There are stamina meters to be conscious of so that you can’t just forever go all guns blazing waving your bat around like a maniac. If all the stamina depletes for a team member then they are out of the match for a short period before dusting themself off and getting right back into the action.
Absolute carnage ensues as every player appears to swarm towards the ball. This rarely gives you room to think about how you plan your next move. Each match is three minutes in length, although this could work out much shorter if goals are scored in quick succession. Games that survive the entirety of the timer automatically gain an extra minute with a random power thrown in. These could range from increasing the speed of players to taking someone out of the game completely. This is to encourage a winner of the round and spices up the gameplay once in a while with something different.
In between your normal matches, there is the option of minigames and rounds with powerups thrown in. These levels add real variance such as negotiating the ball around a course to score or modes similar to King of the Hill. I will leave some of these to be discovered for yourself but I’m glad to see these different modes as the usual run of the mill matches became repetitive quick quickly.
Unlockables, graphics and sound
Visually, Guts ‘N Goals is well illustrated with pixel art style graphics. The arenas seem to be pastel coloured with the vibrancy bought out in the movement and actions of characters. Overall there is enough content in unlockable maps, skins, weapons and more to make most matches at least seem a little different to the eye. Sound effects and music are nothing to shout from the roof about but do the job.
The game supports up to six players and online play is absent. The development team has promised that online functionality is to come in a later update. This is an exciting prospect as I feel it would bring a huge layer of competitive edge to the game. The longevity and replayability of going it alone dies off after a few short hours.
Guts ‘N Goals takes a great concept and transforms it into a fantastically fun game to play in short sessions. Sadly at present it does wear a bit thin after some time. The huge abundance of unlockables does keep you engaged for some time but if you are craving online multiplayer then you’ll have to wait for the team to do its work and update the game. For those who love to game with friends and family then the local multiplayer option may be right down your street. If you’re a fan of crazy spin offs of sport titles then you absolutely must try Guts ‘N Goals!