Have you ever been playing Rocket League and thought “You know what’s cooler than Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars? Squishy Cheeseburgers!” Yea me either, but the people over at Ready at Dawn must have. The makers of The Order:1886 have brought us their take on a smash-em up arena brawler/soccer game.
Deformers is a multiplayer only title, where eight blobs (players) can play 3 different game modes. Deathmatch and Team Deathmatch are both spent rolling around the field trying to smash into your opponents. By charging up yourself you can boost forward and send an enemy flying or make them explode into mush. The final game mode, Form ball, is just soccer, and in that sense is just Rocket League. Weirdly you can smoosh yourself flat like pancake and roll the ball on top of you. This makes it super easy to carry the ball towards the goal. You do have to look out for others trying to bump you and send the ball flying off. You can also form (see what I did there?) into a block, which is super useful when trying to block shots or stop an opponents advance.
There are a multitude of classes in Deformers that your blob can be, but none of them seem to make any difference. The striker is a harder hitter, or so the game tells me, but I never seem to have any better luck with that class. The same goes for the Marksman, who is supposedly better at shooting pellets out of his mouth, but I didn’t notice a difference. There are also power ups laying around the battle field. Some let you shoot a shotgun blast of energy from your mouth, knocking enemies and friends aside. Others let you shoot meteors from your face, knocking blobs back and dealing large amounts of damage.
Randomly while you are trying to smoosh the other team an event might occur. The level may start to spin sending you rolling off the edge if you’re not careful. The map may jump up and down making it more difficult to maneuver. Maybe gravity just stops working and you float through the air. Even more scary is when a giant Glob appears on the field and destroys anyone and everything it touches.
Sadly, the game falls short on so many levels. The controls are clunky and more times than not I felt like my blob never did what I told him. The game ran sluggish on my ps4, but that may have been just server issues as it has been near to launch. Most Form ball matches just turned into whoever could carry the ball to the goal wins. Not in a strategic way like in Rocket League, but just hold the grab button and then roll the ball to the goal. I was bored 99% of my play time, and dreaded loading into another match.
The one and only upside to the game is the quirky art direction. I mean graphically this game won’t be turning heads, but the style and the tone of the game are its strengths. The blobs look fun, and they make me want to have fun in the game. The blobs have tons of skins you can unlock. Do you want to be a cheeseburger ball, or spaghetti and meatball…ball? You can be an over inflated pug or a chicken. The skins range from adorable to hilarious. The game looks great as you roll around, the soft body models react how you’d expect a blob to roll. Deformers has a cute, almost charming look about it, and I can see that hooking some people who’d enjoy to trudge through the awful game play. You unlock these skins by playing matches and leveling up, but I wouldn’t recommend that type of self torture. If for some reason you’d like to take the quick and easy way out, you can purchase coins with real money to unlock skins right away. It’s not just skins either, you can unlock goofy hats or glasses. I am really sad-if the gameplay was solid I might have gotten hooked on trying to unlock that special hat I wanted.
In closing, I’m just not sure what about this game is fun. It’s bargain bin Rocket League. Sadly this is another title from GameStop’s GameTrust publishing arm that has been subpar. I am saddened that another developer’s passion project turns into a bad gameplay experience for players. I’d love to tell you the game is enjoyable, to run out and buy it, but I can’t. My time was spent constantly asking myself “Is this it? Is this all the game has to offer?” I’m told that Deformers has been in development since 2014. My surprise when the release date was pushed about a month. I thought it was to polish the game, to make everything tight and fun, but you won’t find much of this in Deformers. The game feels like an early access title, that maybe it just needs a few more months to be great.
Check us out at Opencritic!
+ Cute and Fun art direction
- Boring gameplay
- Unoriginal Ideas
- Controls are lacking that "tight" feeling