XBLIG Review: Ultimate Dodgeball – dodge, duck, dip, dive and dodge

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Ultimate Dodgeball by K-Dog Games is a dodgeball simulator that excels at a multiplayer experience and still provides a good single-player one.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V7tBS4VWYmQ

Most kids love dodgeball in gym class. Dodgeball is a game unlike most. In basketball, only ten people are on the court at any given time; volleyball has 12 and football 22. In dodgeball every person in a gym class can theoretically be on the court at once, and the game is at its best when the numbers reach upwards of 20 people.

Ultimate Dodgeball does not have availability for 20+ players, but does allow two four-player,teams to duke it out on the court, and the more human players you have, the better the experience, however, only four non-AI individuals can play at any given time. Even though upon release Dodgeball had some multiplayer issues, the problems appear to be fixed and the multiplayer modes work wonderfully. Dodgeball also has the option to play against the game’s AI, but those characters are sometimes wonky and not really the best option.

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The game plays vaguely similar to flash dodgeball games with a few tweaks here and there. Beyond throwing, dodging and catching the ball, the player can throw a fast dodgeball that is uncatchable for the opponent. The fast ball talks much longer to throw, a fact that leaves you exposed for a counter attack, but they are also a tad more difficult to avoid as well. The fast balls have various styles as well that can be used at certain times to achieve the most success.

The game’s controls respond very well, albeit they are a tad frustrating at times.  The button to catch the ball is the same as to dodge it. The dodge/ catch maneuvers take a while to get accustomed to, and on more than one occasion you will try to do one and, in actuality, do the other. This is not detrimental to the game, just somewhat annoying at first. The more you play and dodge/ catch, the more you get the feel for it.

Dodgeball has several game modes: tournament, death match and elimination. Tournament pits a four-player team against eight other ones to win the tournament. Death match assigns a point system for each hit and catch where the team with the most points after time expires wins. Elimination, on the other hand, is a larger team of players, but only a certain amount are on the court at a given time. It sort of treats the characters like lives, so when you run out, the game is over. In each game mode, the winner is decided after a team wins a determined number of rounds. So, you could have a bad round, yet still win the game if you do well on the other ones.

The AI is sometimes a tad sporadic as often opposing players and even AI teammates just stand around for extended periods of time. If you fail to switch between characters regularly, the lulling teammates are likely to be easily picked off and cost you a point. The same is to be said of the opposing AI as well, since they are sometimes preoccupied with standing, you can sometimes catch them snoozing. The AI is Ultimate Dodgeball’s Achilles’ heel; however, the multiplayer experience is incredibly fun.

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While the AI in the game is something to be desired, I personally had some fun playing against the opposing team when my team only had one player left. It was akin to a last man standing and allowed me to focus on playing without the distraction of terrible teammates. If K-Dog Games decides to make another update, a dedicated mode would help spruce up the single-player experience, because sometimes it’s hard to find three other people to play with, and not everyone can access online multiplayer if they don’t have an Xbox Gold subscription.

Additionally, since Dodgeball has Xbox avatar support, the game draws in Xbox avatars from your friends list. So, the game provides some interesting moments when you clock your friend’s avatar in the face, an instance that clearly provides comic relief when the character passes out on the floor.

Overall, the multiplayer aspect of Ultimate Dodgeball with its fixes covers up any blemishes the single-player AI may have. It is a simple game, but it manages to mix the nostalgia of dodgeball in grade school with the competitive nature of a multiplayer atmosphere. Add in the tournament mode, and Dodgeball becomes one of the better multiplayer games on the Xbox Indie market.

 

Final Rating:  8/10

CBR Break Down:
Console Played On:  Xbox 360
Time to completion:
Achievements:  N/A
Price Bought at:  A code was provided by K-Dog Games
Current Price:  80 Microsoft Points ($1)
Recommend Purchase Price:  80 Microsoft Points
Why you should buy it: If you liked dodgeball as a kid, or want a fun multiplayer experience that does not involve guns or killing people.
Why you shouldn’t buy it:  If you hate dodgeball.

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About Steve Lesniewski

Steve lives in Chicago and recently graduated from the University of Illinois. He has been fascinated with video games since his ninth birthday when he received a Gameboy Color and Pokemon Blue. He loves following sports and cheers win or lose for the Bears, Bulls and the Fighting Illini, who include the 2012 men’s gymnastic national champs as well as the 2011 women’s volleyball national runner-up.