This one hurts. When I first joined Pocket Tactics, with my job interview a solid quarter made up of me waxing lyrical about Golf Story, I asked right away if I could do our Sports Story review when the game arrived. Now I wish I had kept my mouth shut. I wish I had kept my damn mouth shut.
For those that don’t know, Sports Story is a follow-up to one of the Switch’s foremost indie darlings, Golf Story, a retro sports sim with its heart in its sleeve and its tongue in its cheek. Emerging as one of the early hits of Nintendo’s retribution-bringing device, Golf Story has since gone on to feature on every generic indie-Switch-games list you can think of – including ours, of course – while the developer, Sidebar Games, has been teasing the follow up since December 2019, with the title finally releasing late in December 2022. I wish the team waited a little while longer.
For starters, in its current inception, Sports Story is buggy as all hell. It’s quite possible to softlock yourself at a couple of locations in the game, the sports segments struggle with slowdown in a way which impedes gameplay – especially on the all-important golf swing – and in less than ten hours my game crashed four times, with one peculiar out of bounds experience included. The most fascinating bug I experienced was when I was levelling up my licence – which requires a certain amount of quests fulfilled to move from C through to S – and for some reason, the game allowed me to completely bypass A licence quests, essentially skipping a whole part of the game. Of course, I quit before saving so as not to ruin the experience, but this sort of bug is good for no one but speedrunners, and goes to show just what a strange state the game is in on release.