EA SCOUT the last line of defense for buying on Steam's Early Access
by Henry Stockdale
previewed on PC
It doesnít take a wizard to see where Broomstick League gets its inspiration from. Developed by Blue Isle Studios, itís reminiscent of 2003ís [I]Harry Potter: Quidditch World Cup from EA and Psyonixís Rocket League, bringing us a competitive, fast-paced multiplayer sports game as you battle other wizards. Releasing as an Early Access title, itís a fun experience but proves lacking in its current build.
Working alone or in a 2-3 player team, your aim is to score the most goals within a 5-minute match by throwing the ball into a hoop. If itís a tie after 5 mins youíll enter sudden death, so whoever scores first wins. After kick-off, youíll need to reach the ball first, grabbed by pressing E. Once obtained, itís a left click to shoot and holding it down charges your shot. To pass to a teammate, itís a right-click instead and the receiving teammate can pre-charge their shots in preparation for the pass.
Eyes on the Prize
If youíre without the ball, right clicks activate blink and this allows you to warp across the field within a limited distance. Likewise, left-clicks will fire blast spells at other players, removing their grip on the ball. These arenít unlimited however and come with a cooldown time. So you canít spam these and it quickly becomes a tactical affair. Like Rocket League, you can use a ball-cam to focus on the action and you also have a boost bar that gives players a speed advantage, one that automatically refills.
Controls will take getting used to but itís a solid gameplay concept and scoring goals after pulling off strategies is highly satisfying. Broomstick Leagueís biggest issue though is a lack of gameplay variety currently offered. Blue Isle Studios have promised new modes and gameplay modifiers in future updates but right now, the only options are Practice, 2v2 online or 3v3 online. You can host private servers, which is certainly welcomed, but itís a barebones experience.
There are 5 different arenas to compete in but this is purely aesthetic and doesnít impact gameplay, following a standard design. During a match, you get awarded points based on goals scored, assists, saves and more, which translate to experience points once the match ends. EXP goes towards a player progression system, leveling up your rank and providing rewards like cosmetic items and in-game currency, which is split between tokens and gold.
These can buy additional cosmetic items and Broomstick League has wide character customization options. You can change gender, skin color, face, eye and hair color, hairstyle, clothing, wands, trails, taunts, goals and more. Certain cosmetic aspects feel limited as a result of early access but more options have been promised. Presentation-wise, Broomstick League is passable at best for characters but arenas are more imaginative, Lined up with magical creatures like dragons and trolls, these liven up proceedings but are backed with a rather generic, fantasy-esque soundtrack.
In Need of Expansion
Virtual Basement have got a winning concept with Broomstick League but as it stands, there just isnít enough content offered. Further updates are due to include competitive and ranked modes, new gameplay options, tournaments and gameplay mutators, coming alongside additional cosmetic options, arenas and training modes. Thereís no denying the fun on offer here but until these arrive, itís hard to fully recommend at this point.
The game has potential, but we're not ready to jump in with both feet. If the game interests you, look, but don't touch - yet.