What the hell is Antonball Deluxe? It’s ruddy brilliant, that’s what! Ever been to an arcade? Downloaded something called MAME and dicked about with the bezels and thought, man, I miss the days of old school gaming? You’re in luck.
Least, that’s what I’d be saying to a past version of me when looking at this game from Summitsphere and ProPonent Games. To cut to the chase, it’s like a reworking of Arkanoid, but that only scratches the surface as it comes jam-packed with lots of other features that make this a blast to return to.
While Antonball Deluxe Switch would insinuate that the game here in question is one title, it features three games in all: Antonball, Punchball and Vs. Antonball – and no, it’s not just filler. Let’s start with the first game, as it’s supposedly the flagship.
Antonball Deluxe Switch Review
Screenshots can be deceiving, and you may wonder what kind of game this is. On the surface, it’s a scanline-induced block basher like Arkanoid, only turned on its side. I’m already sold. However, why am I controlling a little bearded man, freely running around doing backflips?
This, my friend, is Anton. You don’t necessarily have to play as him as there are a few available to choose from the start and unlock, but to begin, it’s him. You’ll learn the straightforward controls for movement and then will take turns kicking a ball, directing it using up and down on the controller, or checking into it with a jumping kick.
This makes sense for the tutorial, but it gets tricky to do this to a ball in motion. Antonball Deluxe has the same bonuses as its ‘ancestors’ as you can shoot blocks temporarily (winning), multiball and more. But it’s all a little bit tricky to jump back and forth onto platforms before the ball goes out of play.
Next up is Punchball. Here you have to pick up a ball, lob it at an enemy, then run into them to make them disappear. It’s a little like Pac-Man, Rainbows Islands and has similar music to Dr. Mario. This was by far my prefered game of the three for a few reasons, the key one being fun, nostalgic arcade play.
Fortunately, you can play this with another player too, and it was giving off vibes of Wrecking Crew. I have nothing to back that as gameplay is different, but it’s just… feel good. I’d happily play Antonball Deluxe as is, but the points system is important, not for leaderboards, but free stuff!
The developers have a great sense of humour and can appeal to crusties like me for arcade nostalgia. Besides the wicked gameplay, you can unlock new characters, stages, music and modes – it’s great value on that alone, but if you want to have a party…
The concept for Vs. Antonball is the same as the base game, only you have up to four competing players and have to knock the other’s walls down. This is mental as there are spawning items available, giving weaker players a chance (or perhaps the parent not telling the kids what those little items do so they can win).
Multiplayer is fun, and while it’s just one game, there’s enough replay value alone. That said, Punchball was definitely my favourite, as I’ve mentioned, plus I have a penchant for cutscenes – even better that they’re mixed with scanlines.
In short, Antonball Deluxe is a great way to turn the classic bat and ball game on its head (and use its feet). The main game does take some getting used to – that’s not because of the controls per se, but just learning the restrictions of having to run back in time to deflect a shot. It doesn’t have the same haste as its counterparts, but once you get the gist, this really is a fun title, and I have no hesitation in recommending should you like any of these words: Arkanoid, arcade, nostalgia, fun, value, boobs. Scratch that last one; that was a bonus for you.