Previews// Keyboard Sports

Posted 4 Jan 2018 10:57 by
One of my pet gripes is when you get your name on a high score table, which I admit is rare for me these days, and you have to use your controller to select the characters of your name when you have a full keyboard in front of you.

Granted this only applies to games on computers, but you get my gist. Well, what if I told you that a developer has embraced the keyboard as a control device for their game at the expense of either mouse or controller? Yeah, I see that face! But you don't know how amazing it is until you play Keyboard Sports!

While at the Indie Mix in Seattle during PAX West 2017 I encountered this very strange game that asked me to use the keyboard and only that device to interact with it. Such demands were a thing of the past I thought, until I understood what Keyboard Sports was about.

By recognising the relative distance between keys on a keyboard, Triband, the developer of Keyboard Sports has created a variable control system that relies on the player pressing keys based on the location of the character on the screen. It's such a simple idea yet it makes perfect sense. To get from one side of the screen to the other, the player must press backspace or return or even right-shift to get there.

Similarly, to get to the middle you have to press T, Y, G, H, B or N. At least that's the case if one is using a QWERTY keyboard layout.

The levels I played on Keyboard Sports were all based on the need to move the little yellow/orange character through areas without colliding with things they shouldn't. This was easier said than done as I found it very easy to draw a path that led to the character's demise thanks to poor reactions on my part.

Keyboard Sports makes you look at the keyboard of your computer in a very different way as it relies on the relative location of each key to the other, creating a touchpad-like controller that consists of a large mat of keys.

The way in which the world of Keyboard Sports is presented is very simple and clean. Orange and cyan are the primary colours with others poking through to highlight key points of interest. There is also a weird sense of humour being brought to the fore with some odd conversations with the player character's trainer who instructs them to get some tea, which turns out to be a training mission. It reminds me a little of Loot Rascals in some ways and that is no bad thing.

Keyboard Sports is due to appear sometime in 2018 for Windows PC, Mac and Linux.

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