Ah, shovelware. Every gamer worth his salt has fallen foul of this phenomenon at one point or another. For those who are not familiar with these most wondrous specimens of modern consumer culture, shovelware is a title that is literally shoveled out the door by a publisher with little or no backing at all. No previews, no advertising, no hype and most certainly no footage of the actual game in action. It is usually only accompanied by a couple of screenshots, which in the industry are known as ‘bull shots’, because what they show is often absolute bullshit and bears almost no resemblance to the finished product. The intent, of course, is to deny prospective buyers of any information as to how bad the product actually is until their money is already in the publisher’s pocket. It is cynical money grubbing of the highest order, and as such is standard practice in the video game industry. But Ashes Cricket 2013 perhaps represents the absolute nadir of the art. A game so turgid, so utterly appalling, that E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial on Atari 2600 may have finally been usurped in the most vile cash grabs in history stakes.
What good could be said about this abomination of a game? Nothing. Well, I guess you could point to the $20 price as a saving grace, so even if you are suckered in you might not feel as totally ripped off as if it had been a full priced game. But there are a lot of better things out there you can spend $20 on these days. Like ten copies of the Brisbane Courier-Mail. But the game isn’t even worth its budget price point. This is, more or less, a game designed for mobile phones. A game you would buy for a buck or two because it seemed like a good idea when on the bus on the way home from the pub, and would be subsequently deleted the next morning when you sobered up. We have more than our fair share of filth on the 51allout computers, but nothing that would belong in the company of this putrid pile of excrement.
I mean look at this shit:
So what is wrong with Ashes Cricket 2013 then? Well, everything really. This was a game that was supposed to come out in time for the last Ashes series but was pulled merely days before scheduled release. Nothing was heard of it for months till, suddenly, it popped up on Steam, ready to go, conveniently, in time for the beginning of this Ashes series. And so whilst Mitchell Johnson was having his merry way with the English middle order on day two of the first Test, this abomination was birthed into the world. Rushed, buggy, a slew of promised features stripped out, graphics straight out of the early part of the last decade, there is nothing to recommend this game. Well, maybe some of the stadia look ok, but otherwise this plays worse than any cricket game we can remember. And we can remember an awful lot of rubbish cricket games.
Thankfully few would have sucked in by this mess, and hopefully its reception means fewer still will succumb to picking it up at some point down the line. Even for next to nothing in a Steam sale this game simply isn’t worth it. Most who had been interested in this title when it was initially announced saw the writing on the wall when it was pulled from its initial release date and the developers subsequently seemingly went into hiding. A quick search on Youtube will quickly deter anyone who might be left. We honestly can’t remember a game as hilariously bad as this one (outside of the recent India vs. West Indies Test series that is).
This review may seem unnecessarily vitriolic, but it is difficult to over-emphasise just how awful this game is. We love cricket games here. Have played them for years. But a title this bad can only damage the prospects of any game that follows it. Cricket games have been few and far between in recent years (good ones even rarer), but after this experience they may well become even rarer still, as consumers who regrettably picked this one up will naturally be more wary in future. Which is bad news for the developers of Don Bradman Cricket 14, an upcoming title that actually does look genuinely promising, a game whose developers have been forthcoming about engaging with the community from day one. In fact we have nothing but praise for that game and can find no fault with what we have seen of it so far, aside from the glaring fact that there will be no WiiU version. The pricks.
But we couldn’t say the same about Ashes Cricket 2013. Largely because we were prevented from seeing anything at all from the game before its release. And in its finished state everyone’s misgivings have been confirmed. And then some. Avoid this game. For the love of God, avoid this game.