Few things get the gaming world interested quite like a free game on a console. Unlike on the PC, where free games are given away constantly, there’s an allure of quality (whether earned or not) to a full game available for free to download onto a console. Surely the makers of the console wouldn’t offer a new game for free that was broken or unfinished. Right? Well, Xbox challenges this notion with #IDARB, a.k.a. It Draws a Red Box. In the right hands, its unique concept could have helped it become one of Games With Gold’s more memorable titles. Unfortunately, in the hands of the developer Other Ocean, this game is an all-but-unfinished broken mess.
#IDARB is a competitive sports game that borrows liberally from soccer and basketball – two teams of one to four players square off, hopping around in a 2-D arena, running into each other and occasionally scoring goals. Players can jump from platform to platform, they can shoot, they can hack at each other when they don’t have the ball, and that’s basically it. “Passing” technically exists, but I don’t think I bothered trying to use it after my first few minutes with the game. Strategy is essentially the same as children’s soccer- a crowd swarms the ball until it goes flying, and only then do a few seconds exist to break away from the pack and potentially put the ball in the unguarded goal area. Bonus points are given for trick shots, which are really just shots bounced off of walls that find their way to the goal. The second goal I ever scored in the game netted me the largest possible score of fifteen points, and after that I never came close to a fifteen-pointer again. Online play against a single other player (there’s essentially no chance of getting 4-vs-4 to happen mere months after the game came out) might be fun, but only if both players know the exact spots to launch their fifteen-point shots from – other than that, it’s the same old chasing a ball around and not getting anywhere for a while.
Most of the creative choices in #IDARB seem specifically designed to make your eyes roll – there’s a hashtag right there in the name! #IDARB is for some reason committed to integrating itself with Twitter, going so far as to livestream any tweet made with the IDARB hashtag directly into the game, which goes exactly as well as you’d think. The graphics are ostensibly part of that 8-bit retro resurgence that we all got sick of years ago, but then some pieces of the environment appear to be much clearer or have some kind of 3-D aspect to them, which makes everything look like crap.
Perhaps worst of all is the attempts at humor #IDARB tries to pull. If you’re looking for things to get wacky and random, #IDARB is the game for you. Why play as a normal team of athletes when you could be… farm animals? Mimes? Disney princesses? Breakfast foods? Yes, you can play as a cup of coffee, which might seem funny until you realize that a cup of coffee has no player animations. Guess what, neither does anyone else! Isn’t that wacky, how half-assed this game was released? Also every time you score a goal, the announcer will shout some movie quote at you, except it’s a totally random quote like “Dingos ate my baby” or “I’m in a glass case of emotion”. Ugh.
I’m usually a little lenient on free games, but #IDARB doesn’t deserve my pity. There is some slight potential that the game could work while drunk with friends, but honestly I’m not willing to take that chance.
1.5 Chicks out of 5