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Cricket Through the Ages Review (Switch, PC & Mobile)



Cricket Through the Ages Promotional Art

Cricket Through the Ages is a weird one, I’ll say that much. It’s weird, mainly down to the fact that, title aside, it isn’t really a game based around cricket, but rather, the evolution of the sport, as well as various species’ attempts at trying to make heads or tails of its purpose and significance in their respective cultures. For example, one segment sees you idling over two primal enemies, both of whom have next to no real experience in the art of the sport (or what identifies as a cricket ball, for that matter), whereas another sees you refereeing two pompous enemies going at it with a couple of teacups. Does this have anything to do with cricket? Not really, but I’m not about to complain about it, either; the belly laughs practically speak for themselves, to be fair.

Never in a million years did I think I’d be spending the first quarter of 2024 teaching a dinosaur the fundamentals of cricket, let alone a caveman, a crab, or an astronaut, for that matter. But, here I am, flailing my arms around in a clockwise motion, trying to avoid the bite of a tyrannosaurus as it scuffs its legs against the dirt and gnashes its teeth, ravenously attempting to pluck the head from my shoulders as I bowl a rock at its skimpy hands. I don’t want to die — but for the sake of ushering the sport into a new era, I’m all for being a rag doll for a few short hours, if only until humankind is able to grasp the fact that, to win a round of cricket, blood needn’t be shed, and heads, as scrumptious as they may seem to a flesh-deprived primate, must remain intact.

”I Don’t Like Cricket…”

Cricket player fighting a dinosaur (Cricket Through the Ages)

I’m not going to pretend that I’m a die-hard fan of the sport, because I’m far from it. With that said, I do know a bit more than the average dinosaur — to the point of knowing that, in order to be successful in the field, you must always be willing to adapt to your opponent’s strengths and weaknesses, even when they’re a little, shall we say, unorthodox. And that’s exactly what Cricket Through the Ages is: a love letter to the sport that showcases its gradual evolution, as well as the trials and tribulations countless species subjected themselves to in order to grasp the core values. But that isn’t to say that it’s a solid emulation of the sport; on the contrary, it’s a caricature in itself, and one that derails just about every aspect of its chosen field for the sake of being comical.

Cricket Through the Ages is a short game in which you take to several playing fields and, well, “play” cricket. And when I say play, what I really mean is, tap several buttons to either swing your arms, bowl some form of ball, or smack the living daylights out of another oblivious soul with one of several items — a ball rarely being one of them, weirdly enough. There isn’t a lot of cricket to be seen in this, you know, cricket-centric emulation, but there are, on the other hand, a whole bunch of unruly shenanigans to throw yourself into, all of which come with their own unique characters, settings, and time periods.

“…I Love it?”

Players holding teacups (Cricket Through the Ages)

The process of completing each era is all rather simple: hit the other player several times with the object that you’re given, be it a bone, a sword, or—if you can believe it—a cricket bat. In several rounds, you will, surprisingly, find the right combination of a bat and a ball, but for the most part, these items cease to exist; it’s merely the case of bashing another person’s groin in with a weapon or projectile of some sort — and that’s it. To cut a long story short, you hold and tap a couple of buttons, and flail your limbs about in one general direction until something—say, a boulder, for example—makes contact with the other player and knocks them unconscious. It’s a simple gameplay loop, and one that’s oddly satisfying to romp through, despite being overly simplistic.

The game itself isn’t all that tough to crack, as it’s merely the case of targeting (or at least trying to) a second user on the opposite side of the screen, and letting all hell break loose in short four of five seconds intervals. Simply put, you must be the first player to accrue either five or ten hits in order to claim the round and progress to the next era, at which point the setting changes, as do the victory conditions and types of weapons that each player is able to use. It’s short, brain-dead entertainment, and it works, all things considered. I don’t know how it works, but it just does, and I’m not about to raise questions, either. It had me at dinosaurs.

*Insert 10cc Reference Here*

Cricket players in combat (Cricket Through the Ages)

What makes Cricket Through the Ages all the more appealing is its ability to make even the worst failures come across as comical and binge-worthy. It isn’t a complex game by any means, though it does cough up its fair share of fairly difficult situations, like a jousting unicorn with a grudge, for example. It’s during times like these where, although the win condition is still one and the same as the other rounds, things tend to go a little awry, and require you to make several attempts in order to beat the opponent. Due to the game being questionably hilarious in all the right places, though, these losses don’t necessarily result in a sudden need to drop the bat and walk away.

I’ll admit, after beating several opponents and reaching the fifth or sixth round, I did begin to wonder whether or not the loop was going to overstay its welcome and resort to the same tactics through to the closing chapter. Having slugged through yet another batch of rounds, I eventually came to realize that, whilst a lot of them were the exact same, the concept of bowling a rock at someone’s head for the umpteenth time wasn’t something that ever felt mundane or taxing on the brain. Sure, it was stupid, but having spent a concerning amount of time slugging through slightly more demanding games of a similar caliber, stupid, really, was what I needed.

Graphically, there isn’t a huge amount to write home about; it’s a cartoon with a few paper-like backdrops and characters — and that’s about it. However, in spite of its best efforts to lunge out of the screen, it doesn’t exactly provide something of a wow factor. Even still, it serves its purpose as an independent game with a satirical twist, nuff said.


Attempting to play cricket (Cricket Through the Ages)

If you’re looking for a visual encyclopedia on how cricket works, then I’ll tell you this: don’t put all of your eggs in this particular basket. If, however, you’re happy to settle for a natural-born comedy that doesn’t take itself too seriously, then you’re going to love just about every element that Cricket Through the Ages has to offer its clientele. It’s only about ninety or so minutes in length, so don’t expect to have too much on your plate to shovel through, but rather, expect a little more than the average point-and-click interactive art piece and a few additional bells and whistles.

Cricket Through the Ages is as silly as it is relatively informative — if only in short bursts, making it a perfect choice for those who are either interested in the sport, or in all things weird and wonderful. And if I am to label this creation as anything at all — it’s weird, and yet oh-so wonderful. Granted, it isn’t the best-looking game in the world, but at no point does it aim to be more than average, either — so I’m willing to give credit where it’s due and say, you know, fair enough.

Fortunately, a lot of Cricket Through the Ages has a great deal of replay value — more so if you’re the sort of person who finds something to laugh about in even the most mundane situations. Bottom line here is this: if you’re likely to get a kick out of bowling a bone at a dinosaur’s scalp, then you’re probably going to enjoy just about every single thing that Free Lives’ unruly creation churns out like a thick paste.

Cricket Through the Ages Review (Switch, PC & Mobile)

We Hear You, 10cc

Cricket Through the Ages, despite being constricted to a relatively straightforward gameplay style, is arguably one of the best comedy games of its kind. I can’t say I love cricket — but Free Lives’ perspective on the sport has started to make me feel otherwise, weirdly enough.

Jord is acting Team Leader at If he isn't blabbering on in his daily listicles, then he's probably out writing fantasy novels or scraping Game Pass of all its slept on indies.