Alrite guv’nor? How’s ya father an’ all that palaver? Innit such a shame ’bout them brickheads dahn the chippy who copped it in the gulliver, mate? China, mate, china.
I have no idea what I just said but I felt as though beginning this review with that kind of language helps somewhat, given that the entire game is full of random British accents and then some fairly stereotypical ones from abroad that you just KNEW were coming when they ran out of British accents to desperately fuck up. Before you start whining, no I am not going mad, I am actually trying to set up this review for Team Buddies, a game that looks nice, should be and could be a kid’s game and yet only has one thing stopping ti from reaching a wider audience: LANGUAGE.
Suffice to say, there is a parental guidance sticker on the front of the UK copy that basically says “WE’RE WARNING YOU: DON’T FUCKING BUY THIS GAME FOR YOUR KIDS OR ELSE WE’LL KNOW YOU’RE A SHIT PARENT, ALRIGHT?”
But surely a game that looks as super safe as this is fine for the kids?
Well… no. There’s a warning for a reason. The entire thing is full of swearing. Unnecessarily so? Maybe. But d’ya know what? That actually makes it pretty hilarious in my book.
I think you can tell that I don’t mind a bit of swearing, more so for comedic effect that anything. I am not averse to it. Most of my reviews are pretty heavily laden in it when it suits me because fuck it, why not? I’m an adult. If I was going to spend my entire time trying to come up with safer swear swords to cover it up, that would basically get you all thinking “well he means ‘bollocks’ so why didn’t he just say so?” so if anything, if I want to say ‘bollocks’, I’ll say ‘bollocks’ – and that’s kinda what this game does too. Hence why I like it, I suppose. It’s a no-holds barred curse-’em-up and when characters get shot, of course they’re going to turn the air blue! I got stung by a wasp and the first thing I did was swear. It happens. It fucking hurt! What do you expect me to do? Do a Homer Simpson and miraculously restrain myself before I KICK THIS DOGHOUSE DOWN?! Nay, sir. Nay.
Anyway. This has nothing to do with what this game is about. All I’ve told you so far is that it’s got swearing in it. So what the flippity flip is it actually about then, muddy funster?
STORY TIME! Everyone’s super happy and dancing and all that guff when suddenly there’s a giant floating disc (possibly alien spaceship, I dunno, it’s massive and grey and… well… you’ll see…) that drops guns and other weaponry from the sky and everyone’s all like: “oh goodness, what might this unusual occurrence be?” and there’s a bit of murmuring and whimsy and some more oh-my-ing and goodness-ing and what-ho-ing when one of the little bastards shoots someone and then it’s all-out warfare with each colour of Buddy sticking together and going against each other like a children’s story gone very wrong. The yellows hates the reds, the oranges hate the pinks, the greens hate the purples and the blues hate the… whatever-colours-are-lefts. It’s like racism in a nutshell, solved with warfare and swearing. I say solved with warfare, not much is actually SOLVED by warfare. Or swearing. Basically, everyone hates everyone and you’re not going to be persuaded otherwise. Now get out there and FUCKING KILL SOME BLUES. OR YELLOWS. OR GREENS. WHATEVER. JUST FUCKING KILL THEM ALL.
OK, I might make it sound like the most simplistic game in the world but it really isn’t. If anything, it’s incredibly tactical as well as hilarious and silly. Each mission has its quirks and foibles and the objectives are occasionally a bit silly (and mostly repeated but MEH) but to be honest, there’s something that this game has that you really can’t fault it for. I’ll get to that later but it is a unique selling point that very few other games can boast.
Each base has a setting-up pad where you can put crates. Single crates create guns, two crates on top of each other create extra Buddies and blue crates superpower the fuck out of everything you build, be it bazookas, grenades, tanks or whatever.
Oh yeah, you can build tanks.
Fill up a 2 x 2 x 2 block of crates and you get a FUCKING TANK. Basically, this allows you to collect a line of crates and then bomb the crap out of your opponents. How can you not like that? Yeah, it takes a lot of random collecting but it’s worth it to blow up your opponent’s base so quickly. They aren’t massively durable though but at least if it blows up, you don’t die with it. Just go tear a new one out of their base when you get the chance, OK? Easy tactic.
You can only control one Buddy at a time of course so you have to tell the others what to do. You can get them building Buddies or building weaponry and whatever or you can send them off to do some damage to the opponents. It’s simple but if anything, it only needs to be simple because if you’re after playing a proper war game, you’d already be off playing Call of Modern Fifa Auto 9: Kablammy Shoot-Shoot by then rather than reading this. This is the type of game that isn’t GOING to be taken seriously (LOOK AT THE GRAPHICS, ARE YOU SERIOUSLY GOING TO TAKE IT SERIOUSLY?) so being crazy tactical and over the top strategic is NOT going to be the done thing in this game. The developers knew that and they did the right thing in keeping it simple, despite probably alienating a few demographics in doing so. I mean, if anything, they kind of alienated a lot of demographics generally anyway. Not for kids, not for serious FPS-ers, not exactly for adults with graphics looking like they do… I mean… if you think about it, who is this game actually for?
It’s for al those people who go out, have a couple of beers, fancy a bit of fun and don’t care what things look like as long as they’re fun and a laugh. Guess what, everyone: it’s fucking hilarious and if you’ve had a few beers, it’ll be even more hilarious to boot.
I’ve watched people play it when drunk. That is the funniest shit, I can promise you.
The missions themselves can get very repetitive, very quickly. You have a fair few missions to get through and generally, the idea is to do something specific but ALSO take out the other team. Mostly, you have to take out the other team IN ORDER to complete the mission anyway so you’re essentially blowing shit up every time and picking up litter or finding a stolen bike or herding sheep… Yes. You heard me.
There are a variety of different Buddies that do get introduced over time. Aside from the regular ones you get, there are specialist healers and samurai and invisible Buddies, not to mention a cyborg Buddy. The variety is kept up because it needs to because even the game realises that after a while it’s probably running out of ideas.
Granted, given that this game came out at the turn of the Millennium, the graphics aren’t much cop to be fair. They’re cutesy and functional but they are immensely flat and bland at times. The 3D stuff bouncing around makes it a lot more interesting, particularly your base wobbling around like you’re twanging a ruler on the table is quite good to watch. It kind of shows off the way the game takes itself. If it was serious, they’d be taking chunks out of the building and it’d blow up in massive chunks all over, scattering debris, damaging your enemies and all that shit. Instead, it bounces around like a wobbly cock and then explodes into stars, cartoon-like. It’s almost bizarre in how a game as violent in nature as this kinda gets away with it by being all nicey-cutesy-nicey about it all. And sweary.
And yes, I did like liken something in this game to a penis. Get over it. I’m an adult.
Yeah, so there are some serious irks and quirks to this game and to be honest, the repetition is the major downfall of the game. The language can put off many, unsurprisingly, and the slightly… stereotypical way in which accents have been done in the voices is… I dunno… it feels wrong. In this day and age, you wouldn’t get away with putting in borderline racist accents unless they’re actually… I dunno, proper? The Japanese ones sound wrong on SO many levels. There’s Scottish, Queen’s English, Estuary English, French, Dutch, Australian, Italian and Japanese in total, whereas America just got American accents. I mean, I’ll be honest, there are some hilarious lines in it but it feels wrong to laugh at it sometimes.
It has something… SOMETHING that makes it likeable, playable and forgiveable. I can forgive it for its sins because of one MAJOR ingredient: CHARM.
MySims had it in spades and this one does too. It just has it. I can’t even put my finger on why. It might be the presentation, as flat as it is, it does the job so cleanly and perfectly, you can’t NOT like it. The language can get a bit repetitive but how many games do you know that had this much swearing in it in the early 00s or late 90s? It was still mostly unheard of. Now we have games which actively feature “FUCK YOU!” duologue-ing because swearing is cool and down with the kids and all that and everyone does it so why the fuck not? That’s not why I do it, by the way. It just happens. I do it because it’s BLOODY HILARIOUS (for me, not for you. If you find it funny, I like that… I like that… if you don’t… good for you).
It’s a game that doesn’t take itself seriously. It’s not award-winning; it’s just pure unadulterated fun. It’s brilliant in multiplayer mode and even in the single player, you sorta find enough enjoyment to keep going because it has that ‘one-more-mission’ feel to it that keeps you interested.
Essentially, there’s just something wacky about it that makes you like it from the off. You’ll tire it off, I’ve no doubt but you’ll have an absolute blast with it until you stop.
Now tally-ho old chap and let’s have a right old ding-dong, what what? Good show with all that bobbins and doohickey nonsense! Confounded youths and their hippity-hoppity bopping musical crescendos and some such! See, in my day…