Published on May 3rd, 2016 | by David Guild0
Review: Stikbold! A Dodgeball Adventure
It’s well known now that I love a good couch multiplayer game to sit down with my family and friends to see who come’s the King or Queen of the living room. Naturally sports games carter well to this market of local multiplayer junkies but one sport has been missing … dodgeball! While dodgeball isn’t well known here in the UK due to the health and safety we’ve all seen it on our TV thanks to American programing. One developer from Denmark, Game Swing, has brought the American pastime to our consoles in the form of Stikbold! A Dodgeball Adventure.
Let’s start off with the Dodgeball Adventure part shall we because this game does have a story campaign believe it or not. You take control over Björn and Jerome, a couple of Stikbold superstars who go on a rescue mission in the name of love. On their journey, they will encounter people who they’ve upset and wish to battle them the only way how battles are solved … no not with their fists but a game of Stikbold duh!
The story mode can be played cooperative or by yourself with the ability to switch characters which is handy. You will play through 12 missions with the majority of them being your standard dodgeball games but like the classic games of yesteryears you will encounter boss battles. These more unorthodox battles are still in the realms of dodgeball but instead of facing against other players, its throwing mushrooms at a hippies love wagon or a horde mode in which you are protecting a defenceless inflatable whale against waves of lifeguards. Along with doing all of that, each level will have 3 challenges which are optional but getting them will give you a lovely achievement (if you’re in to that sort of thing). These challenges can consist of not getting hit throughout a round or hitting someone from at least 20 meters. Some challenges can be easily scored off the list but some will make you scream explicit words and maybe hulk smash a controller in to tiny little pieces … I swear I’m not on my 3rd controller.
I should mention about a regular dodgeball match. It’s the first to three points. Points are giving when all of your opponents are knocked to the floor thanks to your weapon of choice, the ball. Players can be hit once and they will see stars, so this will be your time to strike again so they go down permanently. If they are able to recover, you will have to start the process again. The same can happen to you but some knock outs can be recoverable if your ally helps you up from the ground. If you or the opponent has been knocked out for the rest of the round this is where the unusual rules come in to play because a player is never just side-lined. From the boundary of the map you can take control of some level-specific hazards to tip the game in to your teams favour. It may seem unfair but hell why not!
As I mentioned the game can be quite a challenge sometimes especially the boss battle where the difficultly ramps up quite a bit but keep at it and play with a friend. While the A.I. isn’t all that bad he’s mostly for support than an offensive player but I have seen it handle itself quite well in times of need.
The story isn’t all that long but going through each stage and completing them will unlock new characters in the multiplayer side of the game. The characters even have dialog but I don’t think they’re speaking any specific language, mostly gibberish with some Scandinavian and English words thrown in but subtitles are there and let’s be honest, the story isn’t all that important in the grand scheme of things.
The majority of my time went to the 4 player quick games which can be done team vs team or a good old fashion free for all. While I did mention Stikbold is a 4 player, bots can be added to beef up the playing field. The games can be frantic and brutal but also damn confusing to tell who is who at times with how fast the game can be. The controls are simple but I also found myself further away from the ball and running around in circles due to the amount of characters on the screen. 2v2 seemed the best way to go. While Stikbold is all about working together and playing multiplayer, the game doesn’t have any online features like a lot of the indie games that seem to be focusing on the local side of things. It seems the tables have turned, we went from games mostly focusing online and forgetting about gamers who want to play with each other in the same house to gamers who can’t play with their mates across the network.
In the end, Stikbold is a bright, colourful and exciting to play. I got a rush playing the multiplayer side of things and the story mode passed the time when I had 30 minutes off work and nothing else to do. While it’s a shame that its missing the online gameplay, it be a perfect title for those days in the house with the family that we can pick up and play.
Summary: Stikbold! A Dodgeball Adventure gives us a chance to play an exciting fast paced game of dodgeball without the worries that you may get hit in the bawbag by a real ball. Bright and fun but the more players they are the more confusing it gets. Local multiplayer is back.