Quick reactions, tactics and teamwork are the way forward in this local co-op sporting extravaganza. ‘A Dodgeball Adventure’, as it’s called is certainly what you’re getting upon purchasing this title. Being able to take what, in essence, is a mini-game and add an average story to it making it into a full game is always a bold move, but has it worked?
To summarise the game, it plays as an arena-based match of dodgeball that can be taken on on your own or co-operatively in a small selection of maps. This comes with a ’70s inspired art style that adds character and individuality to the game which is something that particularly stands out for me in a favouring light. There are two game modes – story and quick match.
The story mode reminded me very much of Mario. Two female dodgeball players are taken away by a villain and you aim to rescue them by progressing through a number of levels before eventually reaching them. The narrative isn’t in depth lasting only a solid three hours but then again I don’t feel like it’s supposed to be. The two main characters that you play as had a comedic quality to them, certainly representing a stereotypical double act. But this worked as I enjoyed watching the interactions between them. You also meet various different people along the way but I felt that they were there to simply be beaten at dodgeball. So the narrative is there but as I say it’s not an in depth story that you can really invest your time into.
Quick match mode enables you to create your own games of dodgeball with either local players or bots. These games can be played as a free for all with up to six players or as a team game. I particularly enjoyed the chaos of free for all due to players being allowed to participate even if they have been knocked out. If this happens, your role involves making it as hard as possible for the other players to compete. This can be by throwing in hazards or even becoming a hazard yourself!
Whether you’re in story mode or quick match, the aim of the game is simple – knock your opponents out of the arena with whatever tool is available, usually a ball. This sounds simple on its own, but don’t be fooled. You also have to be wary of things happening around you, not to mention the other team throwing the ball your way. If I had to describe the games in one word, I would say intense.
The game uses simple twin-stick controls to move around the arena and each trigger to either throw the ball or dive out of the way. Other controls involve knocking the ball out of enemy hands and diving to catch the ball. It didn’t take long to learn the controls which suits the game well as anyone can pick it up and play making it a great couch multiplayer.
My issue however is the lack of content available. The concept is new and creative and works to a great standard, but I just wish there was more to play with. Different game modes other than classic dodgeball for example would have been great. Not swaying too much from the standard rules but still adding a bit more variety.
Overall, Stikbold is a great couch multiplayer. A game that you can pick up with anyone, any age, any time. It has its flaws and it could be improved but above all the gameplay is fun and appealing. I would recommend it for it’s gameplay and hope it leads to a future game that adds more content.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Microsoft Xbox One code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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