Stikbold! A Dodgeball Adventure Deluxe (Switch eShop) Review
If you’ve been eyeing off Stikbold! A Dodgeball Adventure Deluxe for Switch, I might be able to clear up a few things for you with one sentence. Stickbold! is a fun game to play with friends, but lacks the same enjoyment by yourself.
Stikbold claims itself to be a glorious and intense sport which will put your friendships to the test with fast-paced, hard-hitting and occasionally hilariously unfair action! It certainly isn’t wrong. Where the game really shines is the straight-up multiplayer Quick Match mode. Allowing you and up to five friends to duke it out, smashing each other with big pink balls. For those of you following along at home, that’s six-players at once. Forget that four-player action. Six is the new Four! If you’re missing a few friends, don’t worry you can add some bots to take their place.
For anyone who’s never played dodgeball, or at the very least seen the delightful comedy romp Dodgeball: A true underdog story, starring Vince Vaughn and Ben Stiller, the rules are fairly straightforward. Scramble around to grab the ball, throw it at your opponent and try to knock them out. Okay, so maybe the rules are a little different to regular dodgeball. In normal dodgeball you aren’t aiming to cause physical damage to the other players, just kinda hit them a bit with the ball so they don’t catch it to save themselves from becoming out. Stikbold encourages you to keep smashing your adversaries over and over again to daze them enough to be considered out.
Catching the ball isn’t your only saving grace either. Depending on which of the six different arenas you’re playing on, there are environmental elements that can come to your aid. For example in the Gym, for some unknown reason, there’s a hot dog vendor walking around handing out hot dogs to any player who feels a little famished. Oh wait, but what’s this? You don’t eat the hotdogs, you ditch ‘em at other people. Arenas don’t just have interactive elements, but also contain certain things that can help or hinder your ability to take home the W. Like waves. Waves suck.
If you do happen to get the juice knocked out of you, don’t feel too discouraged. Sure, you no longer get to be right in the middle of the ball socking action but you get to mess with other players! If you can’t win what’s better than making someone else lose? This is actually my favourite part of the game. Let’s look at the Roundabout arena. Sure, it’s hazardous enough with buses driving around the place, but a player controlled swan comin’ at ya? THAT is truly frightening and a little too close to home. What? You’ve never been attacked by a swan before? Wow, you must have led a sheltered life then. Certainly, a life I envy, one devoid of swan attacks.
Whether you’re playing in team vs team or a free-for-all, whoever gains victory in three rounds first comes out victorious and is crowned the victor. Aside from these two modes in quick play, there are also some mini-games to waste a bit of time in. First up is Handyball, which I like just for the name alone. In Handyball you hit up the Gym with either 2, 4 or 6 players, making equal teams. There are two soccer like goals set up with the aim being to score more points than your opponents in three minutes.
Next is Pop Pop, no not someone’s grandpa, but a mini-game where you take to the beach with up to six players, each with a big beach ball tethered to them, avoiding sharks, waves and jellyfish from pop popping them. The first to 3 points wins. Crate escape is another team based game for an even number of players, taking part on the oil rig, where you are trying to protect your own crates whilst destroying the other teams. And Rainbow Rumpus, where the only goal is to be the final player of up to six to survive an onslaught of harrowing and downright dangerous hazards. These mini-games are okay but not as good as the main event.
Outside of quick play, there’s a game show twist added in Wheel of Rumpus. Google informs me that rumpus means a usually noisy commotion. Frankly, anytime I play it’s a rumpus. I mean, it’s not every day you’re shouting “WATCH OUT FOR THE STREAKER!” or “THE SWAN! THE SWAN IS COMING!” But I digress. In Wheel of Rumpus, players take it in turns to drop the ball into the big roulette wheel to decide what round is about to be played. Instead of just a regular match, there might also be a special bonus point condition too, such as the first person to catch someone with a streaker gets a bonus point, which brings some strategy into play. Do you just go for the normal win by smacking up the others with the ball, or do you try to be first out so you can take control of a streaker, to gain the bonus point?
As you earn points from winning games you get to pimp out your character with clothes and accessories making yourself look all dapper. Wheel of Rumpus also includes the mini-games in the line-up so you never know what you’re gonna spin up. Not to mention The fail and win wedges, which might just gain you an extra point or take one away from someone else leading into the finals. In the finals, these points equal how many lives you have in one last free-for-all, where just one player can leave with the trophy.
Alongside Quick Match and Wheel of Rumpus is Story Mode, where you and a friend, or if you have no friends, a mostly computer-controlled teammate, play through the ranks on a grand adventure, trying to win the coveted trophy. The story is humorous and a nice addition to just a regular tournament mode. It’s also not as straightforward as 2v2 matches either. Sometimes you’ll find yourself outnumbered against larger teams, who wanna stop you in your tracks.
As you play through story mode you unlock new characters to play with too. Up to 18 of them in total. My favourite is still Bjorn though, for his resemblance to me. It’s like looking into a block, skinny, Swedish 70’s inspired mirror. The art style is very Minecraft and it lends itself well to the game as a whole and the colour palette chosen makes the game stand out. The music, while not uninspired was also not memorable but fulfilled its role as party game ambience.
All up, Stikbold! A Dodgeball Adventure is a fun game to play with a group of people in the quick match modes and not s’bad with 2-player co-op in story mode, but playing by yourself just doesn’t have the same level as fun about it, not being able to trash talk and laugh with your cohorts. It’s not terrible but just not the same.
Rating: 4 / 5
Action, Indie, Sports, Party
- Great multiplayer fun
- 70’s inspired look
- You get to attack people as a swan
- Not as fun alone
- The minigames are a little lacklustre
- People get to attack you as a swan