I didn’t get to appreciate the joys of playing dodgeball during my school days. It’s always been something that’s been mostly limited to pop-culture appearances, with my fondness for it probably owed to Vince Vaughan’s efforts in his aptly titled movie Dodgeball. When I have actually attempted playing it with friends, it’s always been less ‘dodge’ ball and more ‘aim for the face every time’ ball. Still, it’s an interesting sport and something that would clearly lend itself well to a video game.
Enter Stikbold! A Dodgeball Adventure – a video game that sees you playing the sport ‘Stikbold’ (it’s essentially dodgeball but with circular arenas). If you’ve always wanted to play a game where you can get your hands on some balls and throw them in people’s faces then now is your chance.
Stikbold! A Dodgeball Adventure sees you take part in epic dodgeball battles, working either solo in a free for all or as part of a team. There are very few rules to learn – you simply grab a ball and throw it at your opponent. The game plays a little like a twin-stick shooter, with movement controlled with the left analogue stick and the direction you aim controlled with the right. You then throw the ball with the tap of the shoulder button. You can also dodge your opponent’s attacks, as well as dive at balls and hit your opponent. There’s no sportsmanship in Stikbold.
Typically in dodgeball an opponent would be eliminated as soon as the ball made contact with them, but in Stikbold! A Dodgeball Adventure a player is only eliminated when they’ve been knocked out. Brutal, right? When you’re hit with the ball your character will get dazed, but you are allowed the chance to recover. If you’re hit again in this dazed state though you’re eliminated.
Elimination doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re completely out of the game. Similar to the likes of Bomberman, once eliminated you can still interfere with the remaining players. Want to get revenge against the player who took you out? Send a land shark their way. Revenge sure is sweet in Stikbold! A Dodgeball Adventure.
As you can imagine, Stikbold! A Dodgeball Adventure isn’t a game that takes itself too seriously – something you’ll realise when you’re throwing wasp nests at your opponent. That’s right, you aren’t limited to just throwing balls but can actually wipe out your foes by hurling a wasp nest at their face. There’s a variety of different objects you can use in dodgeball warfare, and you’ll often find that you’ll have to dodge more than just balls if you’re going to be the victor…
It’s not just things being thrown at you that you need to avoid though, with the environments themselves proving hazardous for Stikbold players. Whilst you do get to play in a standard sports hall (with streakers, might I add…) you’ll also play across the likes of a busy roundabout with traffic aplenty, an oil rig that features a deadly giant whale and even the depths of hell that’s full of lava that will burn your Stikbold player to death. Ok, ‘to death’ is a little extreme, but getting eliminated from the game is a FATE WORSE THAN DEATH. Always remember – if you’re not first, you’re last.
The phrase ‘if you’re not first, you’re last’ applies well to Stikbold! A Dodgeball Adventure’s story mode too. You take on the role of Björn and Jerome, two Stikbold players who are working under the tutelage of an esteemed Stikbold coach. This coach had a great record of success, but with Björn and Jerome achieved his first ‘second place’ finish in the Stikbold championship. Whilst the coach wants to chase success and first place, Björn would rather chase love – something made all the more difficult given that his idea of ‘love’ comes in the form of one of his Stikbold rivals. Of course, things get more complicated with the Devil kidnaps Björn’s love interest. Björn decides he has to rescue her (even if she isn’t quite as affectionate towards him), and thus begins the ‘dodgeball adventure’.
Story mode spans out over a series of chapters that sees you travel through each of the games environments, taking on a wide range of foes that include both hippies and of course, the Devil himself. It’s all a bit of fun and a welcome addition to the game, with the dialogue between matches actually getting a few genuine laughs from me. Plus there’s a ton of neat unlockables to earn during your playthrough too.
One thing that I found with Stikbold! A Dodgeball Adventure is that it never seemed to get boring. There isn’t a whole lot of variety in the game modes, yet I constantly found myself coming back for more – it’s just pure fun. Everything looks really nice too, with bright, colourful visuals and great level design.
Of course, the game is at its best in multiplayer. Whilst you can play co-operatively with friends, there’s nothing better than a four-way battle to determine the ultimate Stikbold champion. Seriously, Stikbold! A Dodgeball Adventure offers a multiplayer experience that’ll have you laughing for hours.
Unfortunately, the multiplayer mode is limited to offline only. This is often the case in titles like this, but it’s all the more disappointing with Stikbold! A Dodgeball Adventure. It would’ve been great to be able to take on all different players around the world, especially since it can be a difficult task to get four players together to play at once. I can’t hold it against the game too much, I just wish online play was included.
Stikbold! A Dodgeball Adventure is the best (and only) dodgeball video game I’ve ever played. Seriously, the game is a ton of fun and the fact that it doesn’t take itself too seriously just adds to the experience – I can’t think of any other games out there that allow you to hurl a wasp nest at the Devil. Get a few friends together to play Stikbold! A Dodgeball Adventure and you’re going to have a blast. There’s no better way to smash balls than with Stikbold!
– Enjoyable dodgeball gameplay
– Multiplayer action is great fun
– Tons of zany environments and hazards
– An enjoyable story mode with plenty of unlockables
– A lack of online multiplayer
Developer: Gameswing (www.game-swing.com)
Publisher: Curve Digital (www.curve-digital.com)
Release Date: 01/04/2016
Format(s): Playstation 4 (Reviewed), Xbox One, PC