From Danish developer Game Swing comes “Stikbold! A Dodgeball Adventure” – we took a look at the PS4 version and here is our review.
Perhaps surprisingly, Stikbold is not actually a dodgeball game – at least not the way most people understand it. Instead, it’s about the sport of Stikbold – played primarily in Scandinavia. It’s very similar though, and you’ll instantly recognize a lot of familiar elements. Like in dodgeball, throwing projectiles at another team is central to the game – and the rules are fairly easy to understand.
To add a bit of depth to the proceedings, there is a story mode included, which is broken up into five levels. After each level, new abilities are unlocked, which add some diversity to the two-to-three hour campaign. Levels generally consist of a few Stikbold matches, followed by a boss fight. The story itself is lighthearted, filled with humor and has friendship as a common theme.
This type of lighthearted approach fits with the game’s visuals, which look like a digital version of a papercraft game. It’s all very cartoon-like, colorful and cute. Each one of the five different levels has its own look and feel as well, but some of the character models and backgrounds could have used a bit more detail. Looking at Stikbold’s overall design, the word “quirky” comes to mind – which also translates to the game’s audio score, with voiceovers that are only available in Danish. It means nothing to the average non-Danish gamer (who can read the subtitles provided), but it adds to the atmosphere.
Stikbold is a game best played in local cooperative mode. You can tackle the game with an AI teammate, but there are two main reasons why you should play together with a friend instead. First off, the AI feels rather clumsy at times – and you’ll often feel like you’re playing solo instead of with a teammate. Secondly, the game is just way more fun when playing together – especially when you get a few strategies together and tackle the boss levels by trying different things.
Stikbold isn’t the deepest and most innovative game out there, but it’s fun to play and excellent when playing cooperatively. There’s not too much to draw you back into the single player content once you complete the campaign and there is a lack of diverse multiplayer modes though, which could hurt the game’s lasting appeal. That doesn’t make it any less fun and quirky in the short run though.