Many games set out to be different. Unfortunately, most try too hard to set themselves apart from the pack and end up feeling inorganic and stilted. #IDARB, however, manages to exude its own infectious style without ever taking itself too seriously. With a goal at each end and platforms scattered between, up to eight players can compete in this absolutely bonkers competitive multiplayer game. I was lucky enough to try my hand at Other Ocean’s unique title and came away positively giddy.
Before you ask, the hashtag in #IDARB‘s title isn’t there just to be obnoxious. Sure, everybody and their granny seems to strive for a trending twitter campaign these days, but #IDARB‘s hashtag actually represents an integral element of its development and even its gameplay. You see, the game began when co-creator Mike Mika sent out a tweet about a new game, saying “It Drew A Red Box”. He somewhat rhetorically asked the twittersphere for feedback on which direction he should take the game, but quickly became berated with feedback as gamers around the globe submitted their suggestions. Mika, to his credit, took it all in stride and tried to integrate as much of the community’s ideas as he could. The game went from a platformer to an e-sport and eventually became the game I saw, #IDARB.
Because of the game’s sporadic twitter-inspired development, #IDARB features several quirky and strange teams to choose from. From soda cans to dead presidents, ballerinas to superheroes, this game has it all. My team and I chose to play as a the “Cereal Killers”, a group of iconic breakfast cereal mascots, and as we lined up against a team of Viking weapons we were already giggling at the silliness of it all. As soon as the game started, however, it all turned to chaos.
All eight of us rushed for the ball, sending it ricocheting off the walls until eventually someone grabbed hold of it. He bounded towards the goal only to be dispossessed by my leprechaun teammate, who then turned it over himself. As we acclimated to the game’s physics and controls, we attempted intricate passing patterns and long-range shots and failed miserably. Even so, we managed to score a few points before the quarter ended, and the ensuing trash talk was glorious. #IDARB had gone from a light-hearted jaunt to a ludicrous competition in seconds, but we were still all having a great time. Our reign continued into the next period, until the screen flashed and something was different.
We had all become clowns.
As eight bewildered faces turned towards him, Mika explained that Twitch viewers had just affected the game. When you stream #IDARB on Twitch, the viewers can input commands to alter your match in tons of weird and twisted ways. Through the course of my two rounds I saw the field turn to ice, the ball become an explosive device, and all of our characters get diarrhea. It was crazy, high-octane fun, and I’ve never experienced anything like it.
Of course, you don’t have to stream your matches. #IDARB can be played offline against friends at home, or on Xbox Live with another household anywhere in the world. Mika made it a point to emphasize that only two consoles can compete together at a time, however, in order to avoid latency issues that would surely break such an action-packed game. Personally, I think #IDARB will be best with the perpetual possibility of strangers popping in to mess with your match; it’s the perfect crown on top of an already bonkers game.
#IDARB is shaping up to be a surprisingly potent boon for the Xbox One. It’s frantic, fun, and difficult to master, and all of those traits seem to suggest it will have a long reign of relevance in the gaming community. It’s the perfect game to boot up for a laugh, but also has the ingredients to become a real competitive force. Not only that, but the developers are actually still accepting submissions for new characters and content, which means it could evolve even further before its release this fall. Regardless, #IDARB is a blast, and some of the most off-the-wall fun I’ve had in years.