IHF Handball Challenge 12 is like the title suggests a handball game developed by Neutron Games, distributed by Libredia and available on steam since 11-28-2011.

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You can ask anybody who knows me and they’ll tell you I’m not the biggest sports fan. In fact I don’t know the slightest thing about handball, so why review this game you’ll probably think. Well I always like to learn and be open for new things and it might be a good thing if someone reviewed it who has a neutral point of view. Handball is the second most popular game in Europe and its popularity is growing fast in Asia and Africa, these are new facts to me too, so I can imagine there is a demand out there for a handball videogame. After starting the game I was pleasantly surprised by the many options you have, there is  a training camp where you can get accustomed to the controls either keyboard or controller, there is an online mode for multiplayer play with or against friends, and there are four different game types.  You have choice out of over 90 existing teams, containing the German league, the Spanish league and the rest of the world. You have the option to increase your players skills and customize them how you like. All in all a giant package of choices before you have even seen a court.

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gameplay 3.0

But let’s look at the game play,  I played keyboard and controller they both work good but the keyboard doesn’t have your typically W,A,S,D layout, in fact you run by pressing shift and a lot of moves require key combinations so it takes some practice and getting used to, it isn’t impossible but I really recommend a controller for the best experience it will make things significantly easier. The game itself is fast paced and full of action with fun player emotions in it, either cheerful or irritated. The camera view isn’t always as steady as I want it to be, with some awkward positions from time to time it doesn’t make playing impossible or has a huge impact it’s more uncomfortable during the game. The game itself is pretty fluent if you set it to fast speed. For online playing I really needed the controller cause I didn’t stand a chance against anyone and even with a controller it was hardly a fair match.

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graphics 3.0/sound 4.5

Graphics are outdated in the game itself even for a game released in 2011, graphics don’t necessarily make a great game but if you want to reach further than only the handball fans you will unavoidably be compared to the sports giants. The loading screens look good, all menus are rich of choice and every player is shown with a real picture. The game is a couple of years old but you can hardly compare it to fifa, and I think it’s unfair to compare these games, it’s like David and Goliath and to my knowledge the developers only made a couple of handball games. Sound is probably the best thing in this game, music is speedy rock tracks although limited to the menus and no music during matches, cheering audiences and sneakers squeaking on the floor all sound effects are really good. In the end this is a pretty fun game with a couple of flaws that I enjoyed playing but to me personally it will become tedious on the long run, just like games as mortal kombat and most sports games there just isn’t any diversity. You don’t have to be a handball fan to enjoy this game but I think the best experience is with friends online. The game needs some polishing in the graphics and gameplay so I can’t recommend it as a must have but if you’re a handball fan or just looking for some casual online fun it will do the job.

total 3.5

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Started gaming on the all time classic C64. Owned a couple of consoles but returned to PC gaming and never looked back. It took me a while to get used to getting a game without having a disc, and now I don’t want it any other way.