In my opinion, good cricket games are fairly hard to come by, so when I was scouring the Steam sale last month, Cricket Revolution caught my eye. At only one pound, it had to be worth a go, because even if it wasn’t very good, a) I would be supporting an indie developer, and b) it would give me something to do for a few short hours. Thankfully though, it is well worth one solitary English Pound.
Usually retailing at £3.99, Cricket Revolution is a multiplayer cricket game which allows live cricket betting, made by the indie developer Mindstorm Studios, who are based in Lahore, Pakistan, making Cricket Revolution the first ever commercialised video game developed in Pakistan. The fact that it is an indie game made it an attractive prospect to me, because honestly, the general standard of normal cricket games (with the exception of Brian Lara Cricket ’99) is pretty poor. EA’s fully-licensed cricket games have always been a disappointment, and the last Brian Lara game was released in 2007, so a newer game is always a plus.
The main crux of Cricket Revolution is the ability to play the game online, with other people. However, it is rather difficult to play online when there are only around 25,000 people registered with the online server. When I logged in this morning, there were only 3 people signed-in, and no games available to play.
The game is also playable in single-player offline, and on Local Area Network, which is always nice. I contemplated diving straight in, but I took a brief look at the manual, and realised that maybe using the Practice Mode would be a good idea. So, I jumped into the Practice Mode, and found that thankfully it was incredibly in-depth and helpful. If you look at the manual, the batting commands are quite complex, so utilising this mode is essential if you want to do well. When you’re bowling, it’s relatively straightforward. Each type of bowler bowls differently, but the mechanic is the same: the WASD keys move the target to where you want the ball to bounce, press Space to choose the Seam for Fast Bowlers, Swing for Medium-Pace bowlers, and Spin for Slow bowlers, and then hold Space to decide the speed. If you keep hold of the Space bar for too long, though, you will bowl a No-Ball. Fortunately, it is relatively easy to do correctly.
It’s during the Batting when things get rather complex, however. There are thirty-four different key strokes you can press to perform a shot. THIRTY-FOUR! It’s ridiculously complicated, and really detracts from my enjoyment of the game. If you make one mistake, you’re punished, even on the easiest setting. On the plus side, the game can be played without using all thirty-four keystrokes, if you so wish. It’s a bit harder just to jump in and play when you’re batting, but once you get used to it, it’s fairly straightforward to do alright.
Being an indie game means that Cricket Revolution doesn’t have any of the licences for the teams. This means that each one is filled up with people who are not called by their real names. Basically, the entire team is there, they are just under sort of pseudonyms. Which is fine, considering you can edit it anyway, if you so desire. The playable teams are all sorts of different countries, ranging from the big test nations like Australia, India and England, all the way down to affiliate and association nations like Vanuatu, Luxembourg and Fiji. This means that you could take a small team to world domination, or reenact the World Cup, if you wish.
The offline modes are: Exhibition Matches, where you can pit one team against another, in either a 10, 20 or 50 overs match; Revolution Cup, which is a knockout tournament to crown the champions; or the Revolution League which is a league-type system of games. These are all excellent options, but I would also like to have seen the option to play Test Cricket, because I am a sad sack like that.
The graphics are pretty good for an indie game, they’re 3D, but they are a little blocky. The sound effects are fine, like the sound of the ball hitting the willow, or the roar of the crowd. The load times are pretty good, although it does get a little annoying when it cuts to the umpire signalling something like a boundary or a no-ball, and then cuts back to the action, meaning it takes a while to play an over. It’s a minor niggle, though.
For £3.99 you can’t go wrong if you’re looking for a nice cricket game. As long as licences and graphics don’t matter to you, you will find a good game here. Once you’ve learnt the controls, it’s a nice time sink. The manual is helpful, as is the tutorial, so it should be fairly simple to get stuck in and start kicking the Aussies around the park.
Developer: Mindstorm Studios.
Genre: Sports Game.
Time: Really, it’s not got a specific “time to completion.” You can lose hours to it.
Gripes: Rather complex to initially get to grips with, not very busy online.
Get it for the: Cheapness, nice time sink as well.
Full disclosure: I bought the game for £1 during the Steam Sale, it’s £3.99 currently.