While the world might not be over familiar with the sport of Dodgeball, Stikbold aims to educate the masses with a fresh adventure packed with some wacky humor.
Bjorn and Jerome are under pressure with their coach to win the Stikbold championship after only coming second last year. You start of with a brief tutorial on how to play which runs you through a basic match, soon afterwards your opponents turn up and Bjorn is love-struck with Heidi, one half of the opposition who distracted our heroes to cause the loss last year.
Seconds later a strange little devil fellow appears and kidnaps your opponents meaning it’s surely going to be an easy victory.
Being the honest guys you are, Jerome and Bjorn decide to hunt down the missing competitors so they can win it fair and square, and hopefully Bjorn can impress the flame haired beauty Heidi.
This takes outside as you follow the oily tracks left behind by the devil, and towards some hippies who are raiding bee hives for honey. You think they’re up to no good, and they think you want the honey, so obviously there’s only one way to settle things, and that’s a Stikbold match in the middle of the park.
This time, and the same for future matches, it’s not just about throwing a ball at your opponents, there’s obstacles such as cars and the aforementioned bee-hives which can be thrown near opponents to stun them while you get an easy shot with the ball.
When you’ve made a few hits, you knock your opponent down, and after taking down the team, you are awarded a point, first to 3 points wins the match, so it’s not all lost if your own character goes down, thankfully you can help your character up by standing next to them, but this also makes you a sitting duck for incoming strikes, so it’s best to try and keep out of the line of sight.
Avoiding direct line of sight isn’t always going to be successful as with the right analogue stick you can add after-touch to curve your shots, these trick shots are more likely to catch your opponent off guard, meaning less chance of a dodge and more chance of a direct hit.
Continuing through the game you’ll come across a range of characters, obstacles and levels each centralizing around stikbold rules, but all with a little twist to keep things interesting.
There’s a sturdy attempt at a story too, which does limit the length of the title, but also gives you more reason to move on. As you progress you’ll unlock a variety of the characters you meet along the way, and these can then be used in a exhibition match which like the main story can either be played solo or co-operatively through split-screen. Sadly there’s no option for online play, which is a shame, because It would have been iDarb fun to have half a dozen throwing balls at each other dodgeball style and the extra Stikbold craziness could have made it golden.
Within each level you’ll also have a handful of challenges which can be completed, such as getting a distance shot, curve shot, or allowing the whale to swallow you and while some are as bizarre as the characters, others are a great way to introduce you to various methods such as curving the ball which ultimately help you further down the line.
Stikbold looks pretty good, with bright fun surroundings and characters who look like they’ve been abducted from Minecraft, and sounds that would suit the jabber of the Sims.
Anyone who’s played ‘When Vikings Attack’ on the PS3 will know what sort of gameplay to expect, but for anyone else, don’t think of it as much of a sport, more like a twin-stick shooter where you have to pick up your ammo before firing it.
Unfortunately it’s all over a little quick, with 12 levels, even watching all the cut-scenes you’ll be pushing 5 or 6 hours before you’ve completed it, but there’s certainly reason to run through the story again and again simply because it’s so much fun to play.