Stikbold! A game where you’re encouraged to throw random stuff at people’s faces… Finally
I was a little bit skeptical about playing Stikbold! At first, mainly because I’m a pessimistic heartless monster, but also because it’s a game about Danish dodgeball and there’s not much fun to be had in that. As usual though I’ve overcome the trauma of my previous physical education experiences and decided to give it a go. I was expecting it to be somewhat boring and dull, but as usual I was wrong again, well to some degree anyway.
I need to word this in a way in which everyone will understand, so here goes. Stikbold! Is the craziest and most insane game that I’ve played in a long, long time. It’s completely off the wall and just downright hectic, but so fun for the first few matches that it’s unreal.
You play as Björn and Jerome, a Danish world champion dodgeball team who are looking to get their legs over on last year’s winners. Mr. Danish Devil man has captured these lovely ladies and it’s now your job to battle through the many innocent people who stand in your way such as hippies. As I mentioned before, this game is crazy. The first level after the warm up you attack hippies with beehives and then shortly after you throw mushrooms at their van in order to stop them, when all they’re really doing is trying to get honey. It really makes you wonder if Björn and Jerome are actually the good guys in this, because it does sound like the thing a pair of douchebags would do.
This is a game about dodgeball, so it’s a pretty simple one really. Pick up the ball and belt it as hard as you can at your opponents face, or genitals if you’re feeling a little bit devilish, although you can’t actually do that in this game, shame though really. The controls are simple enough and it’s not too long before you’re a world champion yourself, whilst it can be a little bit strange when passing as sometimes you’ll become the other character and other times you won’t, it’s not really a deal breaker and even someone with no prior video game experience could pick this up and start playing.
The graphics resemble a somewhat minecraft-y feel. The characters are all made from blocks, almost like little lego men and everything has a cartoony feel towards it, it’s a great setting for the game, and the cartoony element really adds to the hilarity when playing through the story mode. As I mentioned before this game is completely off the walls, so having little devil people pop up and down and vans full of hippies driving around you in 3D block cartoon style graphics is pretty awesome. It’s what I imagine life to be like if I was stuck in a constant LSD trip. Not that I’ve ever tried it, but I’m glad to know that if I ever do I’ll be awesome at dodgeball.
I do love the sound, it’s almost addictive to hear the crazy Danish voiceovers and it sounds very similar to The Sims in the way it’s all voiced. Furthermore, after you’re victory you get a nice little victory sound which sounds great, and I could listen to it for hours and hours if I had the chance. That all being said, the sound in the game is good and works well with the cartoony style graphics and the crazy mentality of everything that’s happening around you and gives the game a theatrical type of gameplay.
There’s quite a bit to crack on with so you have plenty to unlock and do. In each of the matches you’re given tasks, some of which can be ridiculously easy like hitting certain objects or not being downed, others can be somewhat more frustrating, like not getting hit by anything. These prove a bit of a challenge at times, especially when you’re a perfectionist like myself and all you really want to do is platinum the game.
Furthermore, there’s a few different arenas to play in, each of which offer their own unique properties and allow you to use the arena’s hazards to your advantage, so you always need to be on your toes. You can also jump into a multiplayer match, both online or whilst chilling with your bestest bud on the sofa, and then crudely taunting them after you bitch slap them with a dodgeball.
I don’t know why I’m bringing this point up, I guess it follows closely to what I said before, but there’s a real sense of achievement from winning a match. Mainly because sometimes they can go on for so long, or perhaps it’s because some of the matches can be, well downright difficult, but if you win a match you’re treated to a nice bit of victory music and your characters will do one of many dances for you. I’m not sure why this appeals to me so much, maybe it’s my over controlling nature or my wish to see everything as my puppet, but I love it anyway.
I feel I’m being too nice to Stikbold! So I’m going to give it some aggro, the first of which is everytime I write this review it capitalize the letter after the explanation mark, which is annoying as hell but the real criticism comes down to the fact that all of the matches are more or less the same. Yes, there are some cool new items that you can use to your advantage like throwing hot dogs or beehives at peoples face, but there’s nothing really more than the usual dodgeball match. Whilst it’s all very well and fun it becomes a little tiring after a while.
Stikbold! Is a fantastic indie game and a great way to waste some time, but that’s all it is. The hilarity and the craziness of the game eventually fade away and what you’re left with is a repetitive game in which you throw balls into peoples faces (kinky). Don’t let that put you off though, it’s sit down and play value is through the roof and if you’re looking for a gimmicky game which you can bash out for a few hours every now and again and get out some frustration then Stikbold! Is perfect for that, but if you want to get lost for hours on end then it’s simply not and never really will be.
The positive side is that Stikbold! Has just re-confirmed all views that I had on life. All of life’s problems can go away if you throw an object hard enough at it as many times as you can. If you truly take away one thing from the review then it should be that, and I expect to see all of you with dodgeballs in hand when I call you up to become my own private army of readers.