I’m not a complex man, I love anything with simple controls and a plain and open premise. At first glance Super Dodgeball Beats seems to be such a basic bones games that there is very little to be excited for or interested in.
…However, you would be wrong to think that!
Now let’s open this by saying that despite the name, Super Dodgeball Beats is definitely NOT a dodgeball game. It’s a rhythm game wrapped up in faux dodgeball packaging, but come on, all rhythm games need a premise and for some reason known only to the strange mind of developers FinalBoss Games, this dodgeball theme works like a charm.
Basically you handle the game by using the four face buttons, each one representing one of your four characters on the affectionately named Sigma Nerd Squad, nothing too taxing right? Your mission it to smash each button in time to the music’s beat with enough accuracy to keep the ball on your half of the screen; every now and then you’ll have to mix things up by holding, then releasing the button, or moving the analog stick along with a button press between two characters. There’s nothing here that is too difficult to understand, so the challenge comes from timing and distractions.
For my first 5 or 6 matches I was having no trouble whatsoever, and was winning each match with at least an A rank; I was riding high! Then I hit the inevitable difficulty curve and along came Sir Goldzillo, a fairly fancy T-Rex (more on that later) who kicked my ass quite expertly! I don’t know what happened! I came crashing back down to Earth and decided that the powerups and “specials” in this game are utter bullshit! Most of them simply involve something blocking your view of the characters and the wind ups below them, so you can’t get the timing right!
I honestly don’t consider that a challenge or a difficulty measure, it’s just an unfair gameplay mechanic. Some powerups are way more understandable, such as a stone move which freezes out your characters until you button mash on their corresponding button to break them free, which of course can be tricky to fit in before the next sick beat! More like that please; less of the giant cat head covering my screen…
Really though, gameplay aside, the highlight of the experience is just how fantastic this game looks and sounds! Obviously as a rhythm game, everything comes down to the soundtrack and Super Dodgeball Beats won’t disappoint you; each match has a unique tune which, with your control over the heavier beats, will get you bobbing your head in no time – I’ve actually added a ton of the soundtrack to my own playlists when I’m out and about! Not many games get that sort of privilege.
Like I mentioned earlier, there are a few interesting characters you’ll come across throughout the game including the aforementioned Sir Goldzillo. They’re all beautifully presented in a glorious anime style, and the wacky nature of the game means there is no end to the random encounters you’ll have! I mean, my first match was against some Lovecraftian monstrosity with more tentacles than I’ve had hot dinners, and I was having such a good time! The anime kicks into overdrive when you win a match too, as your team of nerds will combine their strength and each throw an overcharged ball to literally atomize your opponent like something out of Dragonball (yes that is my obligatory mention of that series; you’re welcome).
At most Super Dodgeball Beats is a cheesy, fun little game that might take up your time for a few minutes to an hour, but you won’t stop because you’re bored; more likely the game has just successfully scratched that simplistic, joyous itch we all have now and then. There isn’t anything new or even exciting about the entire experience, but is that always a bad thing? Sometimes you just want a game that lets you switch off your brain for a while and enjoy the time for what it is – A bright and colour filled funfest, with no higher objectives or goals than to just have a good time!
For what it is, I’m giving Super Dodgeball Beats: