Back in school, Dodgeball was probably, for the most of us, one of the favourite sports we had during gym classes. Throwing balls at each other while avoiding being hit, it was intense but always a fun time. Despite this, Dodgeball was never a sport that never got much attention in the gaming industry. Developer Game Swing tried to "swim against the tide" with Stikbold! A Dodgeball Adventure, a game that while it's a dodgeball game at its core, it features its own couple of twists and ideas to make it even more entertaining.
The gameplay is very simple to grasp, you aim with the analog stick and throw with R2, you can dodge an incoming ball with L2, or pass the ball to a teammate with R1. In addition, if you dodge toward the ball at right time you will be able to grab it, giving you a chance to quickly counter-attack. When someone is hit with a ball, that player will be temporarily "seeing stars". If the player is hit again before the stars disappear, he/she will be eliminated in the current round.
However, the game adds a few things to make it more chaotic, but still fun and challenging. Each level has its own share of hazards that can either put players seeing stars or knock them out in one hit. These hazards can go from vans and floor waxes that can run over your, waves and swans that can bump into you and put you seeing stars, among other things. Overall, this isn't simply about paying close attention to your opponent's moves, you will also have to be on the lookout for these hazards.
The game offers two game modes: story and quick match. It's advisable to start with campaign because you get introduced to the game's mechanics in the tutorial, allowing you to learn the game's simple mechanics. You can either play this mode with an AI character or with a friend in local multiplayer. In addition, the campaign offers a lot variety in terms of gameplay, as it sometimes deviates a bit from the normal gameplay formula.
The campaign tells the story of Jerome and BjÃ¶rn, two Dodgeball players that are preparing for the finals of a Dodgeball championship, which they lost the previous year. However, their rivals are kidnapped by a mysterious character, and it's up to Jerome and BjÃ¶rn to save them. The story is simple and easily forgettable, but at the same time, it packs enough humor in it to make an entertaining experience.
Although this almost sounds like the kind of story where there will be combats and stuff like that, you will only be playing Dodgeball, with a few twists and changes to make the experience a bit more different and fun, of course. In addition to normal dodgeball games, you will have matches where you will have to defend an object while attacking other players, and even occasional boss battles where you have to attack the boss with the ball while dodging its attacks.
Then there's quick match, where you can set up the settings to your liking and play in matches up to six players. There really isn't great variety here though, as it only there's only two and three-team deathmatches, and free for all. Still, these modes are enough to have some fun with your friends. One thing that's different in this mode in comparison to story mode, is that you will actually have some control over the hazards of each arena once you are knocked out. This means that if you are playing a team match, you can try to hit your opponents and help your team even after being knocked out.
Being a game that focuses so much on the multiplayer component, the biggest drawback is without a doubt the fact that it doesn't support online multiplayer. Replay value is also an issue here, as the game doesn't offer much after you complete its short story mode and it lacks in variety of arenas.
In terms presentation, the blocky character designs really fit well with the game's cartoonish tune. The scenarios are more colorful and detailed than the characters, but for the most part, they remain quite simple as well. To put it simply, you can almost say it's similar to Minecraft. The soundtrack isn't exactly outstanding either, but is does a passable job.
In the end, Stikbold! A Dodgeball Adventure is a really fun game that brings out the best of a sport that doesn't get much attention in the gaming industry. It's simple and easy to learn gameplay makes it a terrific game for local couch multiplayer. While it's true that its longevity and lack of online multiplayer is disappointing, the game packs enough to be worth your time.
|Simple concept thatâ€™s simple to learn and play.|
|Very fun to play with friends in local multiplayer.|
|Story with several moments of humor.|
|No online multiplayer.|
|Small amount of arenas.|