Sidebar Games Archives - myPotatoGames

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  • svgFeb 23, 2023Reviews

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    In 2017, indie game developers Sidebar Games dropped an absolute gem of a game called Golf Story. It took a sport that I (and perhaps many of you) never really liked, and made it fun. Through quirky characters, off-the-wall dialogue, and oftentimes unhinged quest line, there’s a lot to love about Golf Story.

    If you’re unfamiliar with Golf Story, you play as an unnamed male character who gives up everything he loves for his last shot at accomplishing his dreams of becoming a professional golfer. Golf is central to the game, but not the only thing players get to experience. Players fight skeletons, steal snow from a group of bandits, and complete other silly quests. There’s so many odd antics to keep players involved and entertained. 

    Then there’s Sports Story, the long-awaited sequel.

    Sports Story Brings Back the Staples

    This highly ambitious sequel picks back up with Golf Story’s protagonist, who is tasked with investigating the suspicious activities of golf giant Purestrike, as well as the Iron Dragons yakuza. Sports Story brings back the quirky dialogue and oddball NPCs that made its predecessor such a delight. Players get to meet the feisty Iron Dragons, haughty sports royalty, and even pirates! 

    Of course the golf element is back. Players get to compete in and complete a variety of full courses, mini golf courses, putting greens, and other challenges. You’ll encounter any number of difficulty levels, too. Track down or buy new golf clubs, as well as find golf balls with different abilities to help complete courses. Level up your golf skills, aim well, and don’t forget to take the wind into account while you plan your shots.

    The Other Sports

    Sports Story branches out beyond just golf, obviously. In fact, it includes volleyball, cricket, soccer, BMX riding, fishing, and tennis, which has its own whole side story. I was incredibly excited about the prospect of other sports. Sidebar Games really did a great job on the golf aspect, so I thought surely the other sports would be just as good. I was wrong

    Luckily, many of the sports are side items, though you do need to complete several in order to level up your license to move on to other quests and areas. I think I dislike BMX biking the most. You press A to pedal and B to jump. Which means, I’m holding the controller awkwardly, and having to struggle to hit those two buttons as needed. You also need to tilt the bike with the left joystick as you come down from a jump. Landing flat allows you to continue pedaling with minimal stopping, while landing poorly causes you to bounce and lose precious time. 

    All of the other sports in Sports Story were troublesome, too. The activities you need to complete with them were fairly dependent on direction, but there was no way to direct the ball. The soccer minigames were few and far between, but weren’t too bad. The tennis, however, was the worst. At some point you enter the tennis academy to complete that long, tedious side story. You learn four different shots that use varying strengths and speeds, but there’s no aiming involved. So, completing minigames where you have to hit paper balls into a trash can, or aim the ball at targets is all up to which direction the ball machine happens to shoot the ball.

    Some of the Quests Were Disappointing…

    As much as I love the return to goofy that made Golf Story so charming, it’s simply not enough to carry a game. It helped ease the blow of all the other sports being so mundane. However, Sports Story used a lot of fetch quests to move the story forward. I’m all for some fetch quests as they can be useful, but this was more like Fetch Story than Sports Story. 

    Between the numerous quests and the humdrum sports mechanics, I found the game tedious to play and complete. It felt like Sidebar Games packed Sports Story full to make it feel like a longer play, but failed to make it great to play. And don’t get me started on the ending! I won’t outright spoil it for anyone hoping to play, but the ending was unsatisfying. It made the point of going through the story unfulfilling as nothing happens. The powers that be just decide they’re ok with the status quo for now, and that’s it, roll credits. 

    Final Thoughts

    Even having finished Sports Story, I still desperately want to love it. Sidebar Games really knows how to bring golf to life in a fun way. They’re also great at delivering punchy, quirky lines that make characters charming in a weird way. If the developers had managed to make the other sports better to play, and nixed so many of the fetch quests, Sports Story would be great. As it is, it’s merely ok in my book. 

    Perhaps there was more going on behind the scenes than just the game becoming more and more ambitious than originally planned, and that contributed to Sports Story being alright. Players found a secret dev room hidden within the game that pointed at troubles within the team or company. Sidebar Games has since released some patches to remove that information from the game.

    Ultimately, I give it:

    You can find Sports Story (and Golf Story) on the Nintendo Switch shop.

    If you’re looking for more golf fun, try Golf With Your Friends or What the Golf.

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  • svgDec 28, 2022News

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    An Equally Quirky Sports RPG Sequel to Golf Story

    Remember Sports Story, the unconventional sports RPG game by Sidebar Games and sequel to the off-the-wall Golf Story? It was announced 3 years ago, and was originally slated for a mid-2020 release. Sidebar Games announced in August 2020, that the game would unfortunately be delayed. Sports Story had grown into a highly ambitious project, and they wanted to ensure every element made it into the game.

    In Sports Story, you play as the same main character introduced in the first game. He had given up golf as a kid, but wants to get back into the swing of things. The story in the sequel is a direct continuation of the story from Golf Story. You’ll still be able to embark on a golf adventure in varied locales both ordinary and fantastical. However, the game includes far more activities than just golf.

    You’ll enter a renowned tennis academy to become a tennis pro, but you’ll also get to do things like mini-golf, BMX, cricket, volleyball, and even fishing. Make friends, and even enemies, in your quest to become a sports great. Explore dungeons, commit espionage, play mini-games, find buried treasure, and even meet the queen! Don’t forget to compete in the Decasportathon to make Coach proud.

    And of course, there’s no lack of the signature quirkiness that made Golf Story so great.

    Now Available!

    Sidebar Games announced on December 23rd that Sports Story is now available! You can pick up the highly anticipated game on Nintendo Switch!

    In case you’re unfamiliar with Golf Story, be sure to check it out. It’s a fun, silly game.

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  • svgDec 11, 2019News

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    So many unique genre mash-ups for indie games were announced during Nintendo’s Indie World Showcase, like Boyfriend Dungeon and The Survivalist, including Sports Story! Sports Story is not only a game with various sports, but also a dungeon-crawler full of mini-games and other activities! This adventure RPG, developed by Sidebar Games, is a sequel to Golf Story, and an exclusive to the Nintendo Switch releasing in Mid-2020. The game is also listed as a multiplayer game of up to 4 players, although it remains to be seen if that’s only for certain aspects of the game or for the whole campaign.

    Here are some of the things you can do in the game:

    • Embark on a golfing adventure in both ordinary and fantastical places.
    • Undertake full-time study at a renowned tennis academy.
    • Make friends and enemies in your quest for sporting excellence.
    • Dungeons, espionage, mini-games, buried treasure and you get to meet the queen.
    • Make your coach proud by competing in Decasportathon.

    If it’s anything like Golf Story (the colors, the whimsy, the silliness), a winner of awards and a game that truly stood out to me, than I expect really great thing from this title! The developers mention that it is a sequel because of some familiar characters and the story is set sometime after, although it is definitely its own game with a lot more features!

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