Right, battle royale games have peaked. Devs: you can stop updating Fortnite and Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds. Cancel your Mavericks and your rumoured Call of Duty modes. There’s no real point now, because the browser-based Soccer Battle Royale has stolen the genre’s crown for good.
It’s a free, simple take on the formula where you’ve got to defend your goal against 99 AI opponents and an ungodly number of footballs.
Here’s what that looks like.
It reminds me of a fantastic game we occasionally got to play in P.E at my secondary school. In the gym, 8 or so teams would each turn a bench sideways and start kicking a football around. If you let the ball hit your bench you were replaced by a teammate, until each side ran out of subs and only one team remained. There was a joyous tension to it that I’ve only just realised mirrors the excitement of battle royale games, thanks to the magic of SBR.
And there is a bit of magic to SBR! I may have written that intro with my tongue boring a hole through my cheek, but the 15 minutes of frantic ball kicking I’ve spent so far have been a blast. The idea had me grinning from the outset, but I wasn’t expecting to laugh out loud in nervous excitement as footballs sailed perilously close to my two posts. It’s all brought together by the deliberately awkward tank controls, which I blame for the howler of an own goal that just concluded my session.
There are four difficulties, which I think determine how much the AI players target you. It’s worth having a stab at impossible mode, just to see what it looks like when 99 footballers on a cavernous pitch all make a beeline for your goal.