Two words: wizard soccer. No... not Quidditch. Think more like Pong but with power ups and debuffs. That's the closest I can get to describing Skorecery, a PlayStation 4-exclusive local multiplayer game. Yes, you read that right. Skorecery is a game that makes the seemingly-small ask of having at least one friend and one extra PS4 controller nearby just to play it. Unfortunately, it's an ask that will probably stop the game from finding an audience.
Skorecery describes itself as a "tournament of mystics." Two to four players (in 1v1 or 2v2 configurations) compete to break the other side's runes. The runes look like little skulls and float on the left and right edges of the screen. To break them, players must fling an orb into them. Once flung, the orb will bounce off the walls, keeping its momentum until a player catches it and throws it somewhere else. Like I said, it feels like a mix between Pong and soccer but with magic.
That's actually a rad concept. Already you can probably imagine a fast-paced arcade experience with wizards frantically jumping around to gain control of the ball. That's what it feels like, and its a nice shot of adrenaline in game form. Developer GrappleHook Games games also added a few extra tricks to keep the action fresh. Players get spells that they can activate to gain a sudden advantage, such as speeding up or clinging to the ceiling. There are also curses that act as rulesets, like one that makes it so players break their own orbs if they misplace a shot.
The gameplay is solid enough, if a tad repetitive over time. Again, I want to call it an arcade experience. It's a thrill in short bursts, but doesn't have the variety or complexity to demand investment. The spells and curses (and the various game modes) do add some strategy, but the main game boils down to a contest of reflexes. You'll find, unless you're playing with a large group of people, that one person will pretty much always dominate and you'll soon want to play something else. That's where the game's biggest problem comes in.
When only one controller is connected, you can't access over half the modes. The game will let you do the tutorials and practice on your own, but there's no such thing as playing against the computer. There's no story or arcade mode. There's not even online multiplayer. There is only getting a second controller and playing with another person. That seems like a silly criticism, but truly think about it. What games do people play when they're together in-person? Nintendo games, most likely. The house of Mario has come to define couch multiplayer, to the point where I wonder why Skorecery is on PS4 and not Switch.
Skorecery is a cool game, especially as a $9.99 indie. But it's a PS4-exclusive indie that requires local multiplayer. That's a weird requirement in 2019, and one that will sadly hold the game back.
A copy of Skorecery was provided to TheGamer for this review. It's available now, only on PS4.
2.5 Out Of 5 Stars