There's nothing like a good old fashioned game of dodgeball after a hearty brawl. This classic arcade sports game is now available for PlayStation 4, but is it as good as our memory tells us or were we hit in the head a few too many times?
Super Dodge Ball has a simple control scheme where you push one button to pass or dodge, another button to throw or catch, or both to jump. You can also dash by double-tapping forward. Different combinations of these moves allow your players to show off some rather impressive throws that can knock out your opponents in an instant. However, experimenting to learn these moves is a lot trickier than it sounds especially considering that they're not mentioned in the instructions. Anyway, catching the ball with perfect timing then smashing an opponent and watching their spirit leave their body is pure retro awesomeness that feels oh so satisfying. Learning strategies such as passing to outer-court players in order to carry out surprise attacks is a necessary component if you want to win. Overall, Super Dodge Ball may be old but it's still full of exciting gameplay that makes for some gripping dodgeball matches.
If you've ever played a Kunio-kun game then the graphics will be very familiar to you. Characters are rendered in the series' unique charming style complete with hilarious animations. Country-themed courts are humorous stereotypes of different nations that could even be considered offensive at times. The biggest problem when it comes to the visuals is that it gets very choppy when the camera pans left and right which ends up being quite disorienting. Speaking of problems, the audio is downright awful. The loud whistle at the start of a match, generic music, low-quality sound effects, awkward grunts, and obnoxious high-pitched cheering will make your ears beg for mercy. You have the option to tinker with the sound but this is simply beyond repair.
While playing by yourself, you face off against increasingly difficult teams. The first match is somewhat easy but be prepared for the challenge to spike faster than a dodgeball coming hot out of Kunio's very own hand. Not only does the second team have homing attacks and higher defense, they also get five players when you only have four. Additionally, two of their players are big dudes while only one of yours is. Even if the general challenge was the same as the first match, the fact that you're outnumbered and overpowered by such a significant degree means that you'll need to practice for quite some time before you can actually advance. Once you do, you'll see that the teams become even more relentless so get ready to throw in the towel before you claim the trophy.
You could always invite someone over to play against which is probably the best way to enjoy Super Dodge Ball. It's great fun playing a few matches against a pal, but it unfortunately gets old quick. After the simple gameplay runs out of steam upon playing a few rounds, you'll desperately want to play as different teams or on another court. After fiddling around for a while, I can't seem to find out how. You always have to play as the same two teams in the most American-looking setting I've ever laid eyes on. Maybe you love America so much that the lack of variety is okay with you, but I'm Canadian. Stars and stripes mean nothing to me. Then again, playing dodgeball in a hockey arena with beavers and maple leaves in the background would eventually get insufferable, too.
Super Dodge Ball is a part of many gamers' beloved classic gaming memories. However, after playing it now and seeing all of its glaring flaws, I'm sure anyone would agree that it hasn't exactly aged as well as Kunio has.
- + Exciting and engaging dodgeball matches
- + Charming characters with hilarious animations
- + Multiplayer mode is a ton of fun for the short while that it lasts
- - Choppy visuals and awful sound quality
- - Single player gets way too difficult early on
- - You always have to play as the same two teams in multiplayer mode