Anyball is both incredibly easy and incredibly hard to accurately describe.
On one hand, it’s a multiplayer game being developed by Hang Ruan, Laurenz Riklin, and Pao Salcedo that procedurally generates “sports” for the players each round, using a ton of different objects and rules, but not telling the players anything, so they’re forced to experiment and try over and over again to figure out how they score points.
On the other hand, It’s some of the purest, most ridiculous, madness simulation game I’ve ever had the distinct pleasure to experience.
Anyball has a brief tutorial you can run through, but the actual controls are quite simple: You can run. You can Jump. You can grab object and fling them around. You can grab walls and fling yourself around. You’re prompted to pick teams, covering yourself in a distinct neon jersey before being hurled into an arena.
That arena could be anything. A soccer pitch. A football field. A Rock Climbing wall. A multi-level track. After a breif pause, suddenly a number of britghtly colored object fall from the sky, a score board appears and a clock starts counting down.
That’s it. Now it’s up to you to figure out how to get points. Generally, you know you have to do something with the object that are the same color as your team. In my first time playing Anyball, I was on the pink team (My brand!). As the match started, a hailstorm of hockey pucks fell on to an upper tier of the two-tier pitch we were running around on. I had to hurl/climb my way up to the top floor, grab a puck, and….well, I didn’t have any idea to be honest.
Luckily, after a few seconds, I saw that one of the large blocks on the field was open on one side, like a giant square bucket turned on its side. With a gut-feeling nagging at me, I lept off the raise platform and, after a little bit of struggle, hurled that puck into the bucket-block.
I had earned 1 point.
But now everyone else playing knew what to do. I tried to knock them out with a straw baton at first, but then tasked myself with placing the bucket-block in the most unhelpful position I could find.
It wasn’t that helpful. Round 1 ended with everyone on the score board.
Then, a bushel of colored bowling pins fell from the sky, and a checked panel appeared on the floor.
Round 2 had begun.
We could still put pucks into the bucket to score, but now we could also carry these pins across that line. Of course, you could still play defense by moving the bucket or the line, but you’d want to make sure to get points too…
Hopefully, I’ve successfully translated to written word the chaos and hilarity of Anyball. It’s quirky, It’s crazy, and it’s a ton of fun. With a huge number of possible combinations, pitches and rules to play with, I don’t see Anyball really ever overstaying its welcome, and cannot wait to play it with my friends.
My only worry is if turning Anyball into a drinking game would be too much of a bad idea…