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Mixed or average reviews - based on 13 Critic Reviews What's this?

User Score
2.0

Generally unfavorable reviews- based on 40 Ratings

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  • Summary: Sports story is a game about sports, but not always. Various non-sporting pursuits provide variety. Alternate activities like dungeon exploration, stealthy infiltrations and fishing expeditions mean something unexpected waits around every corner. Sometimes it is even sports.

    Here are some
    Sports story is a game about sports, but not always. Various non-sporting pursuits provide variety. Alternate activities like dungeon exploration, stealthy infiltrations and fishing expeditions mean something unexpected waits around every corner. Sometimes it is even sports.

    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.
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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 13
  2. Negative: 4 out of 13
  1. Multiplayer.it
    Dec 29, 2022
    80
    Sports Story follows the lead of Golf Story, keeping the same protagonist and some characters from the nice cast of its predecessor, and improving many elements of its formula. Bugs and glitches of the launch version notwithstanding, Sports Story grants a lot of fun and keeps the players’ attention high, thanks to a humour capable of hitting the mark in the context of surreal situations to be solved with a sporty approach. The art style is great, with a well designed pixel art.
  2. Vooks
    Jan 9, 2023
    70
    There’s enough here for me to offer a cautious recommendation for those willing to forgive its flaws, perhaps with the caveat that it may be worth waiting for one more patch to iron out the last of the kinks.
  3. Game Informer
    Jan 16, 2023
    65
    Even if Sports Story was polished and bug-free, it would still fall strikingly short of the first title in the series. The new sports don’t play well, the fetch quests are tiresome, and the story is tedious and less charming than that of Golf Story. What remains of the retro golf experience is fun, but the whole game feels like a textbook example of being unable to deliver on lofty ambitions.
  4. Nintendo Life
    Dec 30, 2022
    60
    Compared to the unexpected highlight that was Golf Story, Sports Story is damningly mediocre. Although the writing is as good as ever and the visuals have received a nice upgrade, the performance issues, tedious fetch quests, and occasionally confusing gameplay all hold this one back quite a bit. Despite its shortcomings, there’s certainly still an enjoyable game on offer here, but you’ll have to decide for yourself whether it’s worth the negatives, especially given that the Switch eShop is lousy with great games these days. If you loved the original, you'll likely find Sports Story to be a fun-enough follow-up, but there’s no denying that it feels like quite a letdown after years of waiting. Assuming Sidebar can sort out the worst of the technical issues, we’d give Sports Story a light recommendation to anyone looking for a quirky take on a sports RPG, but this one doesn’t deserve a spot at the top of your list.
  5. Siliconera
    Jan 8, 2023
    50
    There are times when Sports Story can be fun. The script can be quite humorous. The sprite work is fantastic. The concept is generally sound. Golf Story, only more seems like a winning prospect. It’s that being overambitious undid any goodwill here. I wouldn’t be surprised too if there’s an element of it all being rushed, with the proper amount of time not being dedicated to eliminate issues and more cohesively tie everything together. With patches, there could be something here! While it wouldn’t hit the heights of Golf Story, I think Sports Story could still eventually be an enjoyable game. It will just take two or more months for that to happen.
  6. RPGamer
    Jan 6, 2023
    50
    It was always going to be tough to follow-up Golf Story in an interesting manner, and one certainly can’t say there was a lack of ambition in what Sidebar Games was trying to achieve in Sports Story. However, fulfilling that ambition is another matter entirely, and ultimately the game leaves a sense of what could have been. Sports Story still has its moments and those who enjoyed Golf Story will be able to find some enjoyment at least. The game ultimately overshoots the green, but hopefully useful lessons will be learned in time for the next approach.
  7. Pocket Tactics
    Jan 24, 2023
    30
    Sports Story is essentially unplayable in its current form, with issues such as softlocking, out-of-bounds areas, and perpetual crashing. Outside of the technical issues, much of the mechanics and story feel disappointing too, with the tongue-in-cheek humour still present but struggling to breathe among the various issues. The disappointment is real with this one.

See all 13 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 0 out of 26
  2. Negative: 23 out of 26
  1. Jan 2, 2023
    7
    Sports Story is a cheery RPG that overstays its welcome. While the environments and dialogue are charming and well thought out, the storylineSports Story is a cheery RPG that overstays its welcome. While the environments and dialogue are charming and well thought out, the storyline and gaming mechanics aren't fully fleshed out. The characters and world design are delightful, but this charm is dulled by the winding, confusing storyline. The mechanics of golfing, tennis, and dirt biking are well-executed (although tennis could use some work when it comes to aiming), but sports such as soccer, cricket, fishing, and baseball seem to be an afterthought. Additionally, the game introduces some fun and exciting stealth and puzzle elements, but golf is clearly the central element of the game. While the mechanics of golf itself are fantastic, the player is often forced to grind golf levels for money to progress the story. The gameplay and layout of later levels seem to repeat the earlier levels. Overall, the earlier levels are innovative, quirky, and cute. That being said, later levels seem repeatedly rehash old mechanics. The Tennis Academy introduces a unique twist on the fetch quest, but the player is forced to repeat this task verbatim in every world after.

    Of course, I must mention the bugs and glitches. I think it's important to give grace to indie developers when it comes to new releases, but there are several bugged quests that disrupt the flow of the game. Further, the environment will often randomly trap the player, effectively soft locking the game. If you play Sports Story, PLEASE save after every important event. I have had to restart my game at least 10 times.

    The ending challenge was extremely anticlimactic, and the ending dialogue/scenery seemed to wrap up the game they intended to make but not the game they actually made. The entire ending challenge only uses the golf mechanic, which feels antithetical to the game itself. I wonder if some big facets of the game were cut due to time. This can also be seen from the over world map, which looks unfinished with big empty gaps to nowhere.

    This game has heart, but it needs a bit of polish. I have faith that Sidebar Games can rectify most of the problems in updates to come.
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  2. Dec 30, 2022
    4
    Real bummer. Seems steps back from the original making and feels as if they were bought out to discourage Physical Renditions. This game failsReal bummer. Seems steps back from the original making and feels as if they were bought out to discourage Physical Renditions. This game fails miserably because it HAD a cult following mainly because they focused on Physical Collectors editions & Collectors Cards amongst even more PHYSICAL items. Feels like a "got famous then sold out story" here. I recommend any new to this game set to play this 1 first then play the original last. Expand
  3. Dec 25, 2022
    4
    I’m disappointed to have to write this review, as I really enjoyed Golf Story and dropped what I was playing to buy this literally the secondI’m disappointed to have to write this review, as I really enjoyed Golf Story and dropped what I was playing to buy this literally the second I found out that it had been released. However, Sports Story should have been named “Following Directions Story” - there’s hardly any gameplay to be found, with a majority of your time spent running from Point A to Point B and back to Point A, perhaps with an over-long scene of dialogue somewhere in between. When there ARE sports segments the gameplay mechanics are extremely shallow, inconsistent, and very poorly explained, almost like you’re playing an NES game (from which the game draws its gameplay mechanics heavily; golf and tennis are, well, Golf and Tennis, BMX is Excitebike, etc.) All of this would be damning on its own, but the game released with a wide array of glitches and frame rate issues - this would be concerning for, say, a smushed down AAA port from the PS4, but when you’re talking about a pixel-art game that theoretically should be optimized for the Switch considering its exclusive launch, it becomes inexcusable. I have a sense that there are scope creep issues here (the devs are on record as saying the project got more ambitious than originally intended), but the many game-crashing bugs makes it feel like it was simultaneously a rush job, which makes Sports Story a glitchy mess that probably isn’t worth gritting your teeth through unless you REEEEEEEEEEALLY liked Golf Story, especially its sense of humor since in Sports Story you’ll be doing a LOT of reading. I’m willing to revisit my score if the devs really take a look at not just fixing the game’s technical and mechanical issues but looking at quality of life improvements as well, particularly when it comes to speeding up the game’s pace - until then though, it’s disappointingly hard to recommend this game. Expand
  4. Dec 29, 2022
    1
    I absolutely loved Golf Story. It felt like a labor of love. It was fun and mixed up its mechanics in interesting ways, but the mechanicsI absolutely loved Golf Story. It felt like a labor of love. It was fun and mixed up its mechanics in interesting ways, but the mechanics always felt tight and tuned. I heard about Sports Story shortly after I finished it, which was this past fall. I had no idea the game had already been delayed for two years. Never did research, just knew when it came out I would play and love it. So it did, and I don't.

    The first course sits at around 15-20 frames with some very heavy stutters. It's so choppy that you will actually miss shots based the lag. Other courses and areas function better, but sometimes when you're zoomed out to see the whole hole, it gets stuttery again. There's also an abundance of clipping (?) issues where your character will flicker in front of/behind a static object. Golf balls no longer go through tree leaves and have stunted distance, they just bounce comically off the tree's concrete aura. There's also a golf course where there's parts of the ceiling obscuring the course, which I'm sure was intentional but there's random things under those parts that your ball will hit, and sometimes it just disappears into The Void. Speaking of which, Out of Bounds seems reserved for moonshots, by which I mean you can hit the ball off the course but not off the whole screen, and then have to play from that liminal space without seeing your character.

    The game doesn't instruct you on a lot of stuff. I'm dumb, I'm not denying that, but the number of times I had to try and dig up something on the subreddit (which as of writing is so, so painfully sparsely populated) just do get by one single event, was ridiculous. Early on there was a side quest for tennis lessons. It says "return the ball" (paraphrasing), and machines spit balls at you. You're supposed to hit them to a certain side of the court, but I could not tell you how. After trying every one of the 4 swings, aiming with the joy stick, even "charging" the shot and pointing the joy stick toward that side, I simply do not know. It seems like 3 of the 4 do the same thing on different sides, and then one hits ball fast.

    The other 'sports' don't really seem to amount to much - I'm not done but I played volleyball once and swung a cricket bat. There's more to them, but they appear optional and to be frank once you've tasted those mechanics you'll probably not be interested in them. BMX involves the character scrolling sideways along a course, dodging up and down around objects, sometimes jumping over them, and sometimes wheelie-ing through them. Football/ soccer? I've only played it with pine cones, and when it said to kick them through a goal, it never specified where or what the goal was, lol. Luckily someone online had figured it out and posted.

    The positive: The old Golf Story charm and artistry is there. It's funny, in a dry way. The music and visuals are pretty nice. The golf is ok, but I firmly mean "ok" and not one iota above "ok."

    Save your money and save us from being swindled by these devs again. I'm so genuinely sorry to say that, but this is borderline No Man's Sky - level deceit.
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  5. Dec 26, 2022
    1
    This game is unfinished and is an incredible disappointment for someone who really enjoyed Golf Story. It is fundamentally broken. I playedThis game is unfinished and is an incredible disappointment for someone who really enjoyed Golf Story. It is fundamentally broken. I played for about an hour and a half and lost *all* of my progress after my game soft locked trying to get bees into a bee hive. Be warned that the game doesn’t AutoSave. From the time that I played, the performance has been disappointingly bad, often dipping well below 30fps. The pixel art aesthetic is charming but I can’t even begin to fathom why a game that looks like this performs so poorly. I really hope in a year or two they can fix up this mess, but it should never have been released in this state in the first place. Avoid my mistake and wait until they’ve patched it up a bit before giving your hard earned cash for an unfinished product. Expand
  6. Jan 18, 2023
    0
    A broken mess. I'm giving it a 0 because I ended up getting hardlocked pretty far into it. Everything feels half-assed and somehow golf feelsA broken mess. I'm giving it a 0 because I ended up getting hardlocked pretty far into it. Everything feels half-assed and somehow golf feels worse than the original. Not a finished game, and pushed out for the holidays. Expand
  7. Dec 25, 2022
    0
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. I’ve finished this game and it was rough.

    Right off the bat (ha), it’s a buggy mess. The game soft locks you for simple things like picking up a tennis ball canister and crashes quite a bit (i crashed maybe 8 times). It seems to me this game isn’t finished either. There are tons of items, characters, areas, and questlines that either go nowhere or just don’t get used.

    Biggest problem for me is that the gameplay is undercooked. Every sport (besides golf) is so half baked they might as well not have not been there at all. I thought every area might focus on a different sport….boy was I wrong. All the added sports serve as mini games that aren’t very good imo. As far as I’ve seen any sports equipment (besides golf) is not upgraded. It feels like you were gonna get better equipment like a better tennis racket or bat but you don’t.

    Those other sports btw are Soccer, Tennis, Fishing, Cricket, BMX biking, and Baseball (BARELY there is one baseball minigame in this whole game). The most explored sports besides golf is tennis and fishing and it is…not great. They have a whole tennis academy and storyline that is pretty fun until you get to the end of it and realize they didn’t finish it, and it isn’t required to progress within the overall story of the game. The actual tennis is pretty bad too, they have you do activities where you’re supposed to be aiming the ball when returning but there is no good way to aim the ball. That's when I thought “ OH! Maybe I need a better racket!” there is no better racket.

    They do have a whole area dedicated to fishing. It’s actually one of the better, more fleshed out areas, the fishing is not great though. You DO get an upgraded rod so that's something. Fishing is annoying. Each type of fish calls for a specific bait which you have to keep buying; you can only carry 10 of each. (There's also some fish in other areas of the overworld but there's no way to take your fishing rod out to catch them, like idk man this game is rough). But the end of the fishing area is pretty good, it's got a dungeon and a boss fight. It’s not great by any means but compared to the rest of the game it's pretty enjoyable.

    *HEAVY SPOILERS*
    The story is also unfinished, unless I completely missed something. It starts with what seems like a scheme to take down a big sports corporation but towards the end it turns into protecting the queens thrown from takeover by wizards. If that didn’t make any sense then I explained it perfectly. It started off pretty good tbh but by the end it feels like a huge chunk of the game was either omitted or abandoned.

    Overall, I wouldn’t recommend this game. It was pretty disappointing. Idk what happened here maybe they should have just made a Golf Story 2, but oh well. If you enjoyed this game I’m happy for you! Despite Sports Story being a miss for me, Golf Story was still a huge hit so I’m looking forward to what Sidebar Games does next!
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See all 26 User Reviews

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