The game of dodgeball has survived the test of time but the video game translation always seems to be off the mark.
Stikbold! A Dodgeball Adventure tries to refresh the classic game with gameplay that is simple to learn yet difficult to master. Pair that with the ever so popular style of cube characters, a la Minecraft, and it seems like a sure hit.
Is this take on dodgeball one we should grab or avoid entirely?
What Is It?
Stikbold! A Dodgeball Adventure follows the dynamic duo of Björn and Jerome as they try to reclaim the Stikbold championship cup they had lost the previous year.
The story of Björn and Jerome is very telling of any team that must come together to ultimately reach their final goal. As the tournament is about to begin, Satan interrupts and kidnaps the defending champions. Rather than winning the championship by default, Björn and Jerome embark on a journey to save the champs and win the championship back fair and square. Can they put their differences aside to do what’s best for the team? Or will the competition continue to pull at seams that already seem undone?
Why Should I Care?
The players are given two options for gameplay, story and multiplayer.
As you progress through the story with Björn and Jerome, you will be faced with different obstacles and teams that refuse to abide by your requests. This mode has three difficulties based on the player’s skill level. The player also has the option of having a friend play through the story with them.
Multiplayer allows the player to partake in two-on-two mayhem where all the rules can be tweaked. This also allows the player to have up to three other friends join them in local multiplayer.
Playing with three other friends with all tweaks is reminiscent of how party games were back then. However, the lack of greater scale matches (three-on-three or even four-on-four) and online multiplayer really makes it difficult to enjoy the game when your friends aren’t around.
At the base of the game are a solid gameplay mechanics. You control your character with the left stick and aim with the right stick. The right trigger acts as your throwing arm strength and shoving your opponents when you don’t have a ball. The left trigger is used to dodge and catch. The only advanced technique is curving the ball, which is done simply by changing direction of the right stick after throwing. To save your partner, just stand by them until their recovery bar becomes full.
The simple controls allow the player to feel more in control of the game and not blame wacky controller schemes and convoluted button mapping.
After completing the story mode, the player is left to go at it again completing challenges and/or increasing the difficulty. This also allows the player to unlock more characters and unlock achievements.
What Makes It Worth My Time And Money?
Stikbold! A Dodgeball Adventure is a welcome addition to the vault of dodgeball video games. It doesn’t try to do too much and it shines in most areas.
Although I applaud the game’s simple nature, this is one of the times where going a little further could have benefitted it greatly. The lack of online multiplayer doesn’t give the player much reason to come back to the game after unlocking all the characters and completing the challenges, which can be done in one playthrough.
Stikbold! A Dodgeball Adventure is fun when it comes to local multiplayer. The tweaks and face-to-face gameplay really brings us back to the simpler days of multiplayer gaming, but it still would’ve greatly benefitted from an online mode.
Overall, the game is solid but the lack of replay value hinders it from being truly great.