Now, ‘Dodgeball Academia’ by Pocket Trap and Ivan Freire is certainly one of the more unique games I have played in a while. Who would have thought a sports game and an RPG would have smashed together so fluidly? Not me, that’s for sure.
You play as our hero, Otto, as he is inducted into the best Dodgeball Academy there is. Like the movie ‘Dodgeball’ you must dodge, dip dive, duck and dodge your way through the ranks to compete in the ultimate Dodgeball championships.
First though, Otto must build a team, learn some skills, develop some health and blast his competitors out of the courts. The narrative is charming and endearing but nothing new in the sense of excitement for progress in the storytelling.
The role-playing aspect rolls out as you traverse a map of the campus to build a squad of different talented players; defeating different tier levelled competitors and doing side missions to gain cash and rewards. These rewards will boost stats as you upgrade each and money can be used to buy edibles to increase elements such as health and power. These definitely sway the odds in competition.
Moves are preloaded to each button and as you travel along you will leave a plethora of power moves bound to certain characters. Some matches will require different playstyles too; whether it be tag team, 1v1, or handicap matches, the balls will hit the floor and people’s faces. Gameplay can get repetitive with the randomly generated matches popping up frequently enough but the game does try really hard to spice it up with different scenarios and power-ups.
Enemies come in a variety of styles and with health bars keeping play satisfyingly easy and challenging depending on who you are approached by. You will also unlock a full roster of characters to use in Versus Mode.
The art style is very whimsical and while not groundbreaking it very much reminded me of the Japanese children’s cartoon ‘Crayon Shin-chan’. It had the same cheeky and innocent atmosphere with its bright and bold colour choices. The music is pretty droning so I often found myself turning it down almost instantly on boot up.
Overall, Dodgeball Academia is a satisfying and quirky approach to a beloved childhood pastime. While the story is the usual formulaic approach to a hero becoming a champ the gameplay in a creative RPG/sport combination is interesting enough to get you coming back for more dodging, dipping, ducking, diving, and yes, dodging.
- Charming and endearing story
- Easy to pick up and play
- Whimsical art style
- Nothing new story wise
- Repetitive music
- Sometimes repetitive encounters