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Preview: Sports Story - Expect the unexpected

Published: 22:52, 06 January 2020
Sidebar Games
Key art for Sports Story.
This is maximum jolly.

Sports Story is the kind of left field curveball that fits perfectly on Nintendo's hybrid wonder; a follow up to surprising smash hit Golf Story that doubles down on the Sport meets RPG concept and pushes the formula in a much broader direction.

Even from the reveal trailer, you can plainly see that Sports Story isn't trying to update its aesthetic or fix what wasn't broken. This is about fresh mechanics and defying expectation, and on both counts, developer Sidebar Games have likely succeeded. 

That deliciously simple top down golf action has returned, but now with a host of different sports that play out like madcap alternate takes on their existing rulesets. 

If there was ever going to be a game that allowed you to field a toaster and smash it with a baseball bat (producing two slices of toast for good measure) this was it. You'll get to jump into some tennis action, overhead kick a beach volleyball, and tear it up on the football pitch (real football, that is). 

Where things get really spicy is when sports are combined to produce a different set of challenges, such as teeing up a golf ball only to strike it towards a traditional open goal.

While the sporting events themselves will continue to be a cornerstone of the experience, there's also a much broader set of locations that appear to represent Sidebar Games' imagination unleashed. Underground caverns, elegant castles, and large towns lush with greenery have all been confirmed for exploration, with text based dialogue and visual treats aplenty. 

Sidebar Games An underground golf course in Sports Story. Underground golfing, with what looks like a mad scientist? YEP.

Travelling around the map and indulging distractions will also be key elements at play, with all manner of activities vying for your attention. Sports Story is every bit an iterative sequel, but one that isn't afraid to shake up the established status quo. It's a game built around sporting competition without being beholden to it.

Self-deprecating humour, quippy written dialogue, and a whole slew of fascinating characters await you on your journey. You'll make friends along the way, encountering a diverse cast that ranges from your fellow school classmates, to miners digging for resources. 

Although specific story details have yet to be revealed, it's likely that you'll have opportunity to shape the course of your adventure, particularly if, like the original, there's some side quest style optional interactions and secrets to unearth. 

The whole thing is a delightful melting pot of concepts, and we can't wait to see what else they have in store. 

Sidebar Games A tennis match in Sports Story. You can also play golf on this tennis court. Or use a baseball bat.

Sports Story launches in Q2 2020, exclusively for Nintendo Switch. 

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