If you’re an Australian, and a fan of cricket, then you will surely know of Test Match Cricket. An admirable attempt to turn the sport into a board game, Test Match Cricket was nonetheless a rather simple and often frustrating interpretation of the game, because in trying to emulate the actual bowling and batting actions of cricket the game ended up having too many moving parts for its own good. Broken games were common, is what I’m saying.
This action takes place across three match types – T10, where each side gets 10 overs, T20, where they get 20, and One Day matches where they’ll get 50. Scoring comes freely, and where a score of six runs in total from an over is considered decent in a real game of cricket, in TableTop Cricket overs of 20 or more are almost the par. In short, at first it all looks and behaves like the kind of cricket game that you might expect to see on a mobile phone – a paired down, arcade take on the sport. And in some ways it is. However, coming to us from the same team that was behind the excellent Don Bradman Cricket, it’s the right kind of addictive, arcade-style cricket game, that comes complete with refined mechanics and solid balance. It’s by no means of the same standard of the Don Bradman games, but then it never tries to be.
Matches are over quickly thanks to the fast pacing between bowls and strikes, and for the single player there’s only really the campaign to work through. These are split between matches against opposing teams (which range from the lowly-ranged USA first through to the might of Australia and India as later ‘levels’) and are split up through challenge stages, where you’ll need to complete an objective such as knocking over the wickets with a swing bowl within 10 tries. These challenges are unfortunately essential to complete to move on to the next level, and that’s a pity because they are universally irritating to work through.
There’s also local multiplayer and online play, which is sadly a dead in the water affair already. It’s just as well that it is a cheap download title, because there isn’t the same amount of content in this one as in the Don Bradman games.
For fans of cricket, however, TableTop Cricket is a nice surprise. It’s a hit of nostalgia for people that remember the Test Match Cricket game of old, and it’s an addictive, accessible arcade sports game that I couldn’t recommend instead of Don Bradman Cricket, but I can recommend it as a good complement to that more serious sim game.
– Matt S.
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