Everyone can be good at whatever they try, but few will be blessed with natural talent. When you have those gifts, you must nurture them with practice, training, and listening to your elders. Dodgeball Academia wants us mere mortals to experience the challenges faced by the best in their fields.
Developed by Pocket Trap and published by Humble Games, this is a colourful underdog sports title. Set in the renowned Dodgeball Academia, you must battle your way to the top of the sport. You’ll set out to prove the naysayers wrong as you and your band of rejects take on the best in the sport. The reward for your hard work is to become the champion.
Dodgeball Academia is a Manga inspired RPG.
It’s obvious from the dialogue and art style that Pocket Trap has taken inspiration from some much-loved RPGs and modern Anime titles. With the feel-good vibes, constant one-upmanship and the need to be the best, it has a familiar feel. It was great, as you instantly felt comfortable in what is otherwise a strange plot with an array of bizarre and loveable characters.
The campus is filled with stereotypes; the school bullies, weird kids, geeks, those who try too hard, and our protagonist, the newcomer. The teaching staff have their obvious traits and the plot plays out like a children’s high school drama, albeit weirder.
Plenty to do and dramatic battles.
You control Otto who has transferred to Dodgeball Academia from a rundown underachieving school. You desire the dodgeball championship crown and must battle your way to the top. You’ll learn new abilities from your tutors, take on school kids and compete in the main tournament. Your adventures uncover secrets, and you’ll make new friends and rivals as you excel.
The story is fantastic, light-hearted and will keep you interested throughout, with its mixture of characters, battles, and mini-games it keeps the gameplay fresh. With a lot of back-and-forth action across the small campus, this prevented it from becoming tiresome.
The game spans eight episodes that comprise main quests, side quests, items to find, character levelling, and team building. You’ll explore many locations, visit shops, heal yourself in the pharmacy, and try to unlock secret chests. With lots to keep your interest and challenging games of dodgeball, you’ll test your skills, tactical nuance, and newly learnt abilities.
RPG influences are key to the story progression.
Every battle, side quest, and item you find are key to making progress in Dodgeball Academia. Levelling up your team is essential as the later matches become progressively harder. Every victory rewards each teammate with XP, and this increases; health, attributes, and the strength of your special powers. Permanent upgrades can be obtained by consuming items, but not every character likes the food presented! Pay attention to the finer details or rare items will be wasted. Equipment can also be worn to increase stats and these can be found, won, or purchased along the way.
The influence of early Nintendo RPGs was great to see. The adventure portion reminded me of Harvest Moon and the battles were a cross between Pokémon and Dragon Ball Z. However, even though there were nods to these great gaming franchises, Dodgeball Academia does enough for you to admire it on its merit. With ever-changing battle elements and zany characters, you’ll fall for its strange charms.
Dodgeball Academia has a striking style and a colourful world.
As you jump into Dodgeball Academia, you are met with vivid colours and a distinct art style. The bright world comprises small areas that you’ll explore thoroughly. With many NPCs to interact with and lots of collectables to find, you’ll lose yourself in this eye-catching world. I loved the varied sprites, the different venues and the OTT special powers. The cutscenes and animations were equally fantastic and the game seamlessly moved from scene to scene.
With its clear influences, it was apparent the music would be upbeat and full of energy. The constant noise should have been unbearable, but I loved it. Chuck in the loud and obnoxious sound effects and you have an in your face audio that never quits.
Timing is key and lots of buttons to remember.
Each enemy you face on the dodgeball court has a unique blend of attack and defence. You must study their moves, time your blocks, and go on the offensive. You’ll learn power attacks, dodging, jumping, focused attacks, and special abilities. As your team grows, you must use each skill wisely and remember your strengths and weaknesses.
The action can be hectic, with many balls flying around at once, yet with some effort, you’ll master the moves and will enjoy every encounter you face.
The story runs linearly, so you may worry that this impacts the replay value. However, fear not, as the achievement list demands you keep playing to search the whole academy. The final hunt for every item was tedious, but the wonderful characters will keep you amused throughout.
Dodgeball Academia will make you smile and bring out your aggressive side.
Smashing a ball into your cartoon opponent’s face is fantastic. Dodgeball Academia makes you smile as it brings out your aggressive side. With a ten to fifteen hours story and many colourful characters, it’s well worth the investment. Free to play as part of the Gamepass subscription, you have nothing to lose by giving it a whirl. I enjoyed it and recommend you to buy it here! Unleash your special powers and be crowned the champion of the arena.