Guts ‘N Goals
Publisher: PM Studios
Genre(s): Sports, Strategy, Other
Platform: Xbox Series S (also available on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, and PlayStation 5)
Age Rating: PEGI 7
Release Date: 31/08/2021
A code was provided for review purposes
Two for One
Guts ‘N Goals is a party sports game that combines the hand-eye coordination of baseball with the scoring system of soccer. Does this novel concept differentiate Guts ‘N Goals from the variety of party games already available on modern consoles? Find out in this Rapid Review.
As soon as I booted up the game for the first time, I was impressed by the stunning visuals and expansiveness of the title. I immediately began unlocking new characters, skins, and modes. It was exciting and kept me immersed in the game, as I always got to try something new. Unfortunately, this excitement did not last long. After only thirty minutes or so, the game crashed, and I was unable to reenter. I waited, redownloaded the game, and reached out to the developers. Unfortunately, nothing worked. Finally, in a drastic measure, I deleted my save data, and booted it up once more. This worked, but it meant I had to restart from the beginning, deleting all the progress I made. Though this major error only happened once, this played a massive role in my experience and the score reflects that.
After resolving this game-breaking bug, I was able to enjoy the title once again. The standout feature in this title is the variety of gameplay modes. Though the initial emphasis is soccer and that is a primary focus, the developers also include minigames such as tag and air hockey. Additionally, they include combat-focused modes like a zombie slaughtering mode and boss fights. This kept the game from stagnation, a common issue I have with similar titles. The many modes kept the game interesting and kept me engaged with the title.
Not only was the game interesting to play because of the modes, but there were plenty of immersive modes to play alone. In addition to the original versus mode, there is a Grand Prix mode which served as a typical arcade mode, a challenge mode, where the developer set specific parameters and rules I had to follow while still securing a win, and a rogue-like mode, where I played a variety of games in succession, trying to defeat the boss at the end. All three of these modes were engaging ways for me to stay entertained while playing alone, as they were not overly easy or challenging. I had a lot of fun playing through each of them.
The most interesting of the bunch is the rogue-like one, where I could upgrade my character, team, and opponent throughout. I was not expecting to enjoy this mode as much as I did, and I specifically liked how polarizing certain runs could be. On some runs, I would have as many as seven teammates by my side, while on others I would not have any teammates, but I would be significantly stronger than any player on the opposing team. There were a lot of customizable elements that supplemented the core mechanics of the game nicely. I thought it was a great addition.
The Starting Lineup
To make Guts ‘N Goals even more interesting, the developers included a diverse roster of characters to select from. These various characters made the game interesting, as even though they were not wildly different from each other, they each had unique special moves that differentiated gameplay. Each of the characters played different roles on the teams, so it made team compositions significant as well. For example, one special ability drew enemy players towards the character. Though this is not helpful alone, with the correct team, it can be extremely useful.
Moreover, each character could be unlocked for free by playing the game. Though it took a while to get them, this tactic further immersed me in the world, as I was rewarded for my continued play. The characters not only added to the gameplay but also gave me additional reasons to continue revisiting the title.
Crashing and Burning
Moreover, Guts ‘N Goals features other unlockable items. I could get different weapons, locales, and even mutations to alter the gameplay. These each served the same purpose as the characters, mildly altering the gameplay and giving me additional rewards for playing the game. There were plenty of things to unlock and a wide variety of elements that refreshed the gameplay. The various collectable and unlockable items significantly improved my experience with this title.
Unfortunately, despite the many excellent aspects of this title, there were just as many performance issues. I was constantly burdened by the game crashing. In fact, it crashed so often that I began to recognize some elements and actions to avoid. Many of the upgrades available in the rogue-like mode did not interact properly with the game. Sometimes, this led to the game crashing while other times it simply led to an unwinnable situation. The many issues with the game thoroughly disappointed me, though the game was still largely playable after the initial issue.
Watching from the Bleachers
Though the crashing issues were more substantial, the issues did not stop there. There were many visual issues where things would not appear. Many of the victory screens were bugged, the item cards in the rogue-like mode did not show the character they were supposed to, and occasionally my character would go invisible. These issues were prevalent, but these did not matter as much to me. Overall, I did think the game looked good. Guts ‘N Goals featured an energetic style, and the characters stood out from the background. Had there been no visual issues, I would have been very happy with the art style. It reflects the energetic playstyle of the game nicely.
Moreover, the sound design was also impressive. It was bombastic and energetic, once again reflecting the action-packed gameplay. The music kept me engaged, and the sound effects were also lively.
Overall, I enjoyed Guts ‘N Goals a lot. Had it not been for the issues and bugs, I would have rated the title much higher. I did have fun smacking soccer balls into the opponents’ goal and liked how each character was distinct. However, as it stands, the underwhelming performance of the title far outweighs the engaging gameplay, rewarding unlockable things, and the variety of modes. Though I liked the game, I cannot recommend picking Guts ‘N Goals up for the Xbox Series S.
Rapid Reviews Rating
2.5 out of 5
You can purchase Guts ‘N Goals on the Microsoft Store here
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.