If you’ve played Stikbold, you’ll be happy to know the dodgeball adventure now has a somewhat spiritual successor called OddBallers. Unlike Stikbold, though, which was indie developer Game Swing’s first project in the genre, OddBallers is a much bigger title, thanks to the incredibly renowned giant Ubisoft taking the reins on publishing. Whether Ubisoft’s stepping in is for better or worse is up for debate. For now, we’ll take a closer look at each gameplay element, breaking down the nitty gritty and assessing just how worthwhile OddBallers is to play. So, whenever you’re ready, here’s our OddBallers review on the good, the bad, and the ugly of the newest dodgeball-inspired game in town.
A Ballsy Game
OddBallers is best described as a dodgeball-like multiplayer party game full of chaotic tantrums and the most unimaginable ways to die. Okay. Maybe “chaotic tantrums” isn’t the best description out there. However, if you ever want to throw one as the adult self you are, OddBallers is the place to do it.
I say dodgeball-like because there are plenty more things to do than simply play dodgeball. In fact, there are more than 30 different arenas and unique mini-games that the game randomly shuffles around for you. There's just too much variety to feel your eyes start to get heavy.
It’s engaging from start to finish, something you desperately need while hosting a party under the OddBallers theme. Oh, and there aren’t any in-game purchases to make. Or, at least, not yet. Each win is hard-earned, and each step forward is well-deserved. But how exactly does each gameplay element fair?
Let’s Talk Arenas
I mean, what a beaut! At first sight, OddBallers jumps off the screen as quite a character in itself. It’s pretty easy to spot Ubisoft’s touch there. Each arena, though under a similar cartoonish theme, feels pretty fun to step into. From rustic farms to paradise islands to waterfront towns, “interesting and fun” spells all over.
One minute you’re taking in the sights. The next an animal runs past you, a booby trap comes alive, an electric fence gets you by the balls, or some random chaotic thing springs out of the blue. The randomness of the arenas is part of the reason OddBallers never gets boring. I mean, it’s not just the dodgeballs that can kill you. There are plenty of dangerous things you need to be careful not to tip over.
In Your Face!
When we say “chaotic tantrums,” we mean exactly that. It may seem unfair, wacky, or even nearly impossible. But, yes. You can swing a chicken through the air at your opponent’s face like a dodgeball or knock them out with fresh fish. You can crush them into an electric fence or take them down with a tennis ball launcher.
Basically, anything you can get your hands on is a weapon you can use to catapult it at your opponent. Think bombs, of course; boxes; chicken; fresh fish; gas tanks; tennis balls; lawnmowers; and more. Once launched, these items speed off at rocket speed. If they collide, they create an intense explosion that further drives the adrenaline up.
In turn, your opponent needs to move or dodge at the perfect time and pace. Or they can also grab whatever they can and launch them back into the air. But not every mini-game is dodgeball-like. Some are like variations of football. Others are boss battles against a stronger opponent. Most often, they’ve grouped them into the “last-man-standing type of games” or “team-based, run-for-your-life type of battle games.”
The best thing about the variety of mini-games on here is they play randomly and have unique rules and features. You can even change some of the game’s rules on the fly. All of the arenas, mini-games, and mechanics variety make it, so it’s never easy to see what’s coming.
Play to Win to Progress
During mini-games, you earn points, which can be converted into in-game currency when you win matches. Progressing through the levels also earns you perks like free access to hundreds of customization features like outfits, haircuts, emotes, dance moves, and more. Top that off with the freedom to play locally or online with up to four or five players, respectively, and you have yourself a pretty fun game to play at your next party.
I could go on singing praises for just how goofy and potential for fun OddBallers has, but like most other games, OddBallers couldn’t get away from some flaws we have to talk about. Let’s start with the fact that almost no one knows about this game.
Like, did you know about OddBallers before reading this review? If you did, that’s great because I do think it has genuine potential to join the ranks of Mario Party-esque games.
Is Anyone There?
But despite the incredibly giant Ubisoft gaming company publishing this game with a clearly improved design, their marketing just never caught up to speed within the three years the game was in development.
The reason “popularity” is so concerning is that the online experience, which is a major part of the game, gets a massive hit. You could be waiting for hours in the lobby only to have to play against the AI because next to no one is joining.
It certainly doesn’t help that OddBallers has no single campaign to at least keep you engaged. Either you have some local friends or family to play with, you’re lucky enough to find some online players, or you’ll have to settle for playing against the AI.
It begs the question of whether the low marketing efforts are intended. It’s just insane to release a multiplayer without any human opponents lining up to play against. OddBallers is even cross-play enabled on a variety of platforms like Xbox, PS, Switch, PC, and Luna, so why is there still a non-existent player base?
Reporting Minor System Malfunction
Aside from the very few online contenders, OddBallers does tend to have some glitches here and there. There are reports of screen freezes, log-in failures, inconsistent display, and the like. I’m not saying the game should have been absolutely perfect. After all, these glitches don’t impede the overall experience, at least to a great extent. However, there are certainly a few performance issues that could use some attention in the next patch update.
Some Clogging Up the Drain
Next up, because there are currently two in-game currencies, both of which are free, it tends to clog up the interface in between playthroughs. So, you know how most multiplayer will have two types of currencies. One is free. The other is for premium users only.
OddBallers has both, yet they are oddly similar to one another. You could literally write off either one. Unless there are plans to incorporate a premium use case in the near future, which would be worrying, seeing as the game already costs $20 to buy.
There is no denying the absolute goofiness packed within OddBallers. It’s such a great deal of fun to play, with some playful cutscenes in-between each mini-game. Because the arenas, mini-games, and gameplay are so versatile, it’s just about impossible to feel a sense of boredom. You could literally do a deep dive, get stuck in a never-ending gameplay loop, and have the best time with friends or family.
However, OddBallers had such low marketing efforts that not enough online players are available to play against in online mode. This means you get stuck playing against an AI, which is not as fun as playing against human players, or else bring along a friend or two to play with or against in your living room.
OddBallers also has a few technical issues, though these aren’t too “in your face” to impede the overall experience. It’s definitely a possibility for OddBallers to incorporate premium membership. Hopefully, it doesn’t happen anytime soon with the already $20 launch price. This is a 50/50 recommendation overall, with an 80/20 for players who’re guaranteed to have friends or family to play with.
For only $19.99, you can buy OddBallers here.
OddBallers Review (Switch, Xbox One, PS4, & PC)
A Wacky, Goofy, and Oh So Versatile Dodgeball-Inspired Game
If you’re looking to try out a fresh take on the hard-hitting dodgeball experience, check out the hilariously fun new dodgeball-inspired game from indie developer Game Swing and renowned publisher Ubisoft called OddBallers. It’s like the spiritual successor to Stikbold, but with a bigger budget and a grander scale. The game features over 20 arenas and mini-games, each with its own unique flair, rules, and features. While not all mini-games are great, a decent number have hilarious tactics and wacky weapons to knock out your opponents.
Plus, the variety and chaos make it, so there’s never a dull moment playing OddBallers. The only thing you can do is bring a friend or two along. Otherwise, you may have to play against the AI or try your luck waiting for the lobby to fill up. From last-one-standing to team-based mini-games, check out OddBallers’ online or locally playable dodgeball-inspired multiplayer party game on Switch, Xbox One, PS4, and PC platforms today.