This is my last football-related Have You Played for a while, I promise. In my defence, they’ve all been very different takes on the sport. World Cup 98 was about hacking the opponents into oblivion. Natural Soccer focused on controlling the ball in mid-air with seemingly telekinetic powers. And today I’m taking a look at the glorious Ludum Dare title, A Small World Cup, which focuses on propelling your lone ragdoll player through the air again and again, trying (and failing) to hit the ball while your lone opponent does the same thing with equal amounts of success. And d’you know what? I think this one might be my favourite.
You know when you come across something, and you’re actually annoyed at how brilliant it is? Because it’s so simple, so attainable, yet so novel. That’s the feeling A Small World Cup instills in me. Created in two days by Rujo Games for Ludum Dare #38 (theme: “A Small World”), the so-called World Cup comprises of a string of 30-second 1v1 exercises in complete chaotic nonsense. Pinging your ragdoll player across the screen with anything approaching accuracy is much harder than it looks. And therein lies the beauty. It’s very rare that I laugh this hard at a game, and what’s more, the laughs come every few seconds. Here are just a few of the possible outcomes of propelling your player through the air:
- You miss the ball completely, and headbutt the opponent’s crossbar at bullet train speeds.
- You miss the ball completely, intercept the opposing player’s own hapless journey through the air, and both players land in a tangle of limbs on top of the goal.
- You miss the ball completely, slide along the grass doing the splits, and screech to a stop right in front of the opposing player for some intense eye contact (still doing the splits).
- You hit the ball with such phenomenal force that it hits the crossbar and bounces neatly back into your own goal.
- You hit the ball at exactly the same power and trajectory as the other player, and you land together in a tangle of limbs on top of the ball, which hasn’t moved in the slightest.
- Your opponent is collapsed on top of you to begin with, so while you stay where you are, your opponent is propelled through the air against their will to score a sensational own goal.
It’s such a shame that there’s no multiplayer and all you can do is play against the AI. I really do wish this could be expanded upon, because it would absolutely guarantee a rip-roaring, side-splitting good time with your friends. You can (and should) give A Small World Cup a go right now yourself.