Game review: Casey Powell Lacrosse 16 lacks widespread appeal

With mediocre graphics and confusing gameplay, this is only for lacrosse diehards

PUBLISHED : Friday, 01 April, 2016, 9:01am
UPDATED : Friday, 01 April, 2016, 9:01am

Casey Powell Lacrosse 16

Big Ant Studio

2/5 stars

Who the heck is Casey Powell? And lacrosse, really? When did that become a sport that deserved a video game? Developer Big Ant Studio might be better known for its ventures into the smartphone app world (Fruit Ninja, Jetpack Joyride), but it’s also tried its hand at sports, through the underplayed Rugby League and Don Bradman Cricket. Both were decent, but still, lacrosse?

For those unfamiliar, as many no doubt are, it’s like field hockey meets basketball, with a bit of football thrown in. Not very popular, obviously. Players wield ridiculous-looking heavy sticks with nets on one end, the point being to catch a small rubber ball and shoot it into a goal. It’s obviously more complicated than that, but that’s the gist – or at least, as much as we picked up during our play-through.

The game tried its best to ease us in, with button prompts above player’s heads offering suggestions, but it was poorly executed. And without any form of tutorial (even big sports games offer some kind of basic breakdown), we were often left charging down the field at what seemed like a snail’s pace, hoping to score through sheer, dumb luck – which didn’t happen very often.

And don’t even get us started on the game’s career mode, a series of endlessly complicated screens featuring stats, decisions and strange choices. We could have tried to learn it all, but that defeats the purpose of a sport video game, doesn’t it? It’s all topped off with limited graphics, admittedly not the most sought-after in our modern world, but still a major factor when every player has basically the same face and all coaches look ogre-like.

Lacrosse’s popularity might be growing, and it’s true that its ebb and flow, sense of precision and rough-and-tumble nature is beloved by its fans – but the truth is, it’s still a sport that most people don’t know anything about. Couple that with this game’s lack of a learning curve and a generally low-budget vibe, and this is a game that only diehard fans of lacrosse can love.