Stikbold! A Dodgeball Adventure on PS4
Some people like their games to be serious, gritty affairs that mirror reality. For the rest of us, though, there’s the lighthearted side of things, such as Stikbold! A Dodgeball Adventure, a cartoony game made with the blessing of the World Dodgeball Association and plenty of over-the-top fun. Following the exploits of Björn and Jerome as they try to rescue their fellow athlete, Heidi, from the clutches of the Devil himself, this bizarre sports story is a fun and unique take on the genre.
Stikbold opens as Björn and Jerome’s coach, incensed over their last years’ second-place trophy, reminds the pair that they’ll need to give their all to return to the top. After a quick warm-up round that serves as the game’s tutorial, the reigning champions, Heidi and her partner, are suddenly whisked away by the Devil. Despite their coach’s happiness over the only real competition vanishing, Björn and Jerome decide they must pursue the evil one and rescue their peers.
From here, Stikbold becomes a truly curious tale as the would-be champions must face off against spaced-out hippies, a retired Stikbold legend, and even a fearsome white whale on their rescue mission. Each new location involves both a more traditional round of dodgeball and a minigame that will challenge players with a variety of scenarios.
Stikbold’s cartoonish aesthetic is perfect for the game’s wacky premise. Gameplay is pretty simple, but with plenty of small details that keep things interesting. Each new area involves new obstacles, including player-stunning waves sweeping across the beach, irate sign-waving activists climbing aboard an oil rig, and more. The controls are smooth, and allow for both simple tosses of the ball, and tricky power throws and curving shots to up the ante.
On top of its story mode, Stikbold also includes a quick match option that includes local multiplayer in both team and free-for-all action. Allowing up to three teams at a time, players can fill out the rosters with AI-controlled bots at a range of skill levels to test themselves. While there doesn’t seem to be any functional difference between the various players unlocked through the relatively short story, there’s still a pretty solid roster of characters to choose from for these matches.
Stikbold may not be your typical sports game, but it’s got a solid backbone of fun and wackiness. The short story mode and cartoonish aesthetic aren’t likely to appeal to players of all types, but it remains a great fit for those who enjoy the lighter side of games. Those interested can pick up Stikbold now on Steam (on sale through April 8th), or on the Playstation Store on April 5th.