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Hey Poor Player Holiday Buyers Guide 2021 – Sports Games

Pass The Rock

Holiday Buyers Guide

Welcome to the Hey Poor Player Holiday Gift Guide. From Monday, November 8th through Friday, November 19th, we’ll be bringing you a guide to all the games, accessories, systems, and other hot items players will be looking for this holiday season. With Black Friday and other Holiday sales set to start in the coming weeks, we thought now was the perfect time to help draw attention to just what you players should be looking for in the coming weeks. So whether you’re looking for a gift for someone else, or maybe something for yourself, we’ve got you covered. Please keep in mind that as we move into our individual game lists, we’ve limited each game to one list to help spread the word about more great titles released in 2021. So if a game you love shows up on a genre list but not on one for a system, it doesn’t mean we didn’t love it. It just means that let us showcase more great titles.

Today we’re talking about sports games, both traditional and extreme. It wasn’t exactly a fantastic year for them, with few games on this list truly standing out as among the very best of the year. Still, there were enough interesting games that fans of the genre will want to check them out.

 

Knockout City

 

Holiday Buyers Guide

Platforms: Switch (Our Review), PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, PC

Price: $19.99

Dodgeball was in this year but no game captured the feel of it quite like Knockout City. While over the top and a bit insane, owing a debt to games like Splatoon, this one manages to create an identity all its own with strong mechanics and a ton of personality. Here’s what I had to say about it earlier this year:

“With style to spare and refined gameplay, Knockout City knows exactly what game it is. That happens to be an excellent, highly addictive, online slugfest. It’s excellent to pick up and play for a short burst, and its strategy can hold your attention for longer sessions.”

 

NBA 2K22

 

Holiday Buyers Guide

Platforms: PS5 (Our Review), PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Switch, PC

Price: $69.99 (PS5, Xbox Series X|S), $59.99 (other platforms)

This year’s NBA 2K release is a bit of a mixed bag, but for the first time in years it truly nails the most important part of any basketball game, the feel of the basketball. While many of the game’s modes are wanting, improved defense and post play help it feel more like real basketball than ever. Here’s what I had to say earlier this year:

NBA 2K22 offers the best on-court experience in the history of the series. That’s no small thing for a franchise long known for rock-solid gameplay. The problem is that so much around that experience feels incomplete or messy. NBA 2K22 provides such a wide range of experiences that many players will get what they need from it.”

 

Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 – The Official Video Game

 

Holiday Buyers Guide

Platforms: PS4 (Our Review), Xbox One, Switch, PC, Stadia

Price: $39.99

After a long delay in the west caused by the delay in the Olympics, Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 finally released this year. It was good. Mostly. Any mini game collection is going to be a bit of a mixed experience but Olympic Games Tokyo has genuine fun to be found with a few of its games reaching the level of pretty great. Here’s what I had to say earlier this year:

“All of this adds up to a game that is a little strange, like everything involving the 2020 Olympics. If you have friends to play with regularly, I think this Tokyo 2020 is a great option for you, despite inconsistent event quality. There are enough good ones to have a great time, and you can make your own playlists to avoid the bad.”

 

The Ramp

 

Holiday Buyers Guide

Platforms: PC (Our Review)

Price: $5.99

What a strange little title. The Ramp is a small game, more of a toy than a game really. Yet it’s had real staying power for me. It provides the perfect vibe to lose yourself in for a few minutes after a tough day. I can’t wait to have this on a Steam Deck. Here’s what I had to say earlier this year:

“One mechanic has been pushed to its limits to give you a unique experience. If it cost much more, it would be harder to recommend. Yet at this price, it’s hard not to do so if it looks interesting to you. If it clicks for you, then you’ll likely get a lot more out of it than you do with many full-priced titles. I’ve already lost hours to The Ramp, and I think a lot of players will find this chill toy of a game is just what they’re looking for.”

 

Riders Republic

 

Holiday Buyers Guide

Platforms: PS5 (Our Review), PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PC, Stadia, Luna

Price: $59.99

About the only thing that could make Riders Republic a better version of what it is would be a brief Grand Theft Auto crossover that let me kill every annoying character who is part of the story. Just saying Ubisoft, its a real opportunity. While the characters may grate, the gameplay is strong enough to make up for it, especially when most of that stuff recedes far into the background once you get through training. Here’s what I had to say about the game:

“Once you get through the tutorial Riders Republic opens up into a sandbox only limited by your imagination. There’s enough to do to keep players busy for a long time and enough variety to keep things fresh. So grab your board, hop on your bike, it’s time to ride.”

 

Andrew Thornton
Andrew has been writing about video games for nearly twenty years, contributing to publications such as DarkStation, Games Are Fun, and the E-mpire Ltd. network. He enjoys most genres but is always pulled back to classic RPG's, with his favorite games ever including Suikoden II, Panzer Dragoon Saga, and Phantasy Star IV. Don't worry though, he thinks new games are cool too, with more recent favorites like Hades, Rocket League, and Splatoon 2 stealing hundreds of hours of his life. When he isn't playing games he's often watching classic movies, catching a basketball game, or reading the first twenty pages of a book before getting busy and forgetting about it.

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