Game Reviews

Cricket 22

No rest for the wicket

₹ 3,990

In the world of FIFAs and NBA 2Ks, cricket fans have had slim pickings. With bigwigs like EA showing no interest, Australian developer Big Ant Studios is doing its best to keep the cricket-game flame burning. Despite budget constraints and licensing issues, the studio has managed to come out with yet another installment in its cricket series. As long as expectations are kept in check, Cricket 22 is among the most fun cricket sims out there.

Visuals: Rough around the edges

It all starts with the visuals, which are far from what you expect from a 2021/22 game. The crowded stadiums feel lifeless, and the character models themselves look amateurish. Licensed players and teams feature a passing resemblance to the real men and women. But the unlicensed ones have as much life and expressions as the infamous Cristiano Ronaldo bronze statue. 
But a huge shout out to the burgeoning cricket gaming community that has worked hard to create individual players and teams. You can head over the community tab and replace the unlicensed teams and players with the best renditions. This goes a long way to enhance the gaming experience in this cricket sim.

At the time of writing, stadium creation has still not been rolled out by the developers. So India’s only two home stadiums (one of them called Delhi Way) look like a poorer version of the MCG, and skyscrapers borrowed from New York. 
Then there are the glitches, which range from game crashes to fielders running circles around the ball before picking it up. They are frustrating and sometimes downright funny. But, Big Ants Studios has been coming up with frequent patches that steadily iron out the creases.

Gameplay: Keeping traditions alive

Once you look past the visuals, the saving grace for Cricket 22 is the gameplay, which is a lot of fun. If you’ve played an earlier installment of Big Ants’ cricket, then you can jump right into the matches. But if you’re a newbie, the game has a helpful tutorial that teaches the basics of the sport along with how to play the game. Just like in the real game, you can continue practising in the nets after the tutorial to hone your skills. 
There are a lot of gameplay modes to choose from including test matches, T20s, ODIs and even the newly introduced Hundred, Big Bash League and County Championship. You can play against an AI or if you’re feeling confident then against another human in multiplayer mode. One disappointing miss is split-mode, which would have allowed you to play against your friend in the same room.

Again just as in the real game these days, Cricket 22 is also a bit batting-heavy. Once you get the hang of the controls and timing, just point towards a gap and hit the ball out of the park or onto the head of a spectator. 
Bowling requires a bit more skill, and you need to get the field right, pitch perfect, and even the timing of the jump and ball release. All this makes taking a wicket way more satisfying than hitting a ball for a six. For bowling, you can choose between arcade (pressing the right buttons) or pro (using the joystick) controls. We found the latter to be a tad fiddly, and stuck with the arcade mode. 
Cricket 22 has also added fielding controls that add an element of risk when throwing the ball back to the wicketkeeper or bowler. Be aggressive and you can get a runout or get the timing wrong and end up conceding an overthrow.

Building a career

Another gameplay mode is career, where you create a player from scratch and assign an agent. You start by playing in the lower club levels, and continue honing your skills to reach the upper echelons of the game. 
You get to choose what kind of player you want to be – a specialist batsman or bowler or an all-rounder. Once chosen, you will need to hit the nets to practise and hone your skills. Equally important is hitting the gym, which is a fun little mini-game in itself.

Verdict: Should you buy?

Cricket 22 is not perfect with graphics that are stuck in the early part of the millennium, licensing issues, and a myriad of glitches. But despite all that, for cricket fans, this is the best game out there with the sheer amount of modes to choose from and the fun gameplay.

Stuff Says

Far from perfect, but Cricket 22 gets the basics right and is a lot of fun.
Good stuff
Bad stuff
  1. Most fun-to-play Cricket game yet

  1. Helpful tutorial mode cuts learning curve

  1. Career mode with its mini-games

  1. Women’s teams included

  1. Unimpressive visuals

  1. Licensing issues

  1. Glitchy experience

  1. Boring commentary