Ahh, memories. When you were young did you ever get up to mischief that you knew your parents wouldn’t approve of? I remember ruining my poor Mum’s wok by using it as a makeshift Beyblade arena (look it up kids). Good times. Well, Indoor Kickball falls into a similar “don’t try this at home” category.
That’s right, Indoor Kickball sets two kids against each other where one pitches an inflatable ball, and the other kicks it as hard as they can whilst trying to leg it around the room. It’s basically baseball, in the house, but without the bat. What could possibly go wrong?
Well, right from the off I got a bit of a shock. Once I clicked through the menu screen, the volume dialled itself up considerably for some reason, and nearly deafened me. I also noticed that despite four kids battling it out on the title screen and the Xbox Store page proudly boasting of 2v2 play, Indoor Kickball is 1v1 only. Not the best start then.
Each match sees the players take turns pitching and kicking across up to five innings. It’s a simple button press to chuck the ball, and it’s the same deal for the kicker. Both players have a limited influence on where to place the ball, because aiming in Indoor Kickball is horribly inaccurate. It feels like the ball could go anywhere.
There are several ways for the pitcher to take their opponent out, such as whacking them with the ball, beating them to the base or even by tagging a roaming ghost (for some reason). However, it’s best to run to and tag someone out rather than attempting to chuck the ball at them. For the kicker, just whack it and run. That’s the best technique here.
The ball bounces around an awful lot, but once it hits the floor the yellow border around it will vanish. This means you can no longer catch someone out. It can roll around on shelves and the like but until it touches the floor, it counts as a catch.
There are various rooms to play in, but the smaller ones are less enjoyable because it’s very easy to be caught out by your opponent (it doesn’t help that catching happens automatically when you’re near the ball). Smashing up the place is always fun though, and you’ll score home runs if you land the ball in specific places (such as through a window or in the toilet bowl).
As I played I found myself losing by lesser margins, but actually unable to win a match. Maybe I was just rubbish, but the CPU was very good at catching me out. Thankfully there are difficulty options in the settings, so you better believe I shifted things down to easy. Only then did I start to chalk up some victories.
You can play Indoor Kickball solo, or locally against a friend. Quick play throws you into a single match, or you can head into the season mode which is just a string of 1v1 matches Vs the CPU. Each competitor ranks on a leaderboard which tracks their wins and losses, but otherwise that’s it.
Sadly, this does nothing to help combat the sheer monotony of Indoor Kickball. Apart from running around, jumping and pulling off some stylish sliding there’s not much else to it. As a result, it’s a case of rinse and repeat with no real sense of achievement as you rack the matches up. Even the music which plays in the background to each match is on a loop, seemingly only lasting around ten seconds at best.
The upside of season mode is that you’ll unlock new stuff as you play (even if you lose horribly). New accessories, rooms to play in and more rewards slowly trickle in after matches. Unlocks can be tracked in the stats menu, which will also tell you how to acquire the next one.
My other issue with Indoor Kickball is that it looks very basic. The character models are pretty bland too, which given that customisation is an option (although pretty limited) feels like a missed opportunity. What’s also poor is the fact that your opponents are randomly generated but can still look identical to you, just with a different name.
The achievements in Indoor Kickball come thick and fast, and you’ll even pick up Gamerscore if the CPU does the work for you. Very generous indeed. Less generous is the price tag, because Indoor Kickball on Xbox will set you back £12.49, which given how simple and repetitive the gameplay is, feels steep even at this price.
Indoor Kickball provides some brief amusement, but the gimmick soon wears off, all thanks to the underwhelming execution.