Ok, gang. Let’s talk about some hard-core dodgeball.
Stikbold is a single or local multiplayer game that gives the world what it’s been begging for: a video game about the lethal sport of dodgeball. More importantly, Stikbold is a way for our children to delight in throwing balls at each other’s heads without actually throwing balls at each other’s heads. If, like me, you have kids who frequently play the “let’s punch each other in the stomach” game, this is a gift.
Stikbold is fantastic in three important ways: one, it’s a video game about dodgeball; two, it’s from Denmark and all the characters speak Danish with English subtitles (it turns out that Danish is a ton of fun to listen to); and three, its characters rock sweet seventies mustaches and sweatbands. Sold, sold, and sold.
I had my son teach me how to play while my daughter looked on and advised me on technique, which was exactly as helpful as it sounds. The game starts by introducing you to your characters, Bjorn and Jerome, who are members of a championship dodgeball team that finished second in the finals last year, much to their shame. They have an angry little coach, a love interest, and a dramatic kidnapping by the devil.
As far as the storyline goes, I am all in. Well done, Stikbold.
In terms of actual game play, Stikbold starts out with a “warm up,” which is one of those player tutorials that I always appreciate. The main moves are throwing, diving for the ball, and passing. Each of these moves involves a different button on the controller, which made life very difficult for yours truly. I kept forgetting which button did which thing, and spent a lot of time running in circles trying to help my son but accomplishing nothing. In our first match versus “The Noobs,” I kept throwing the ball directly into the arms of the other team and not understanding why it wasn’t hitting them instead. My kids then informed me that was I was doing was passing the ball to them, which is not helpful in a team sport and could be considered sabotage.
Our second match was against a bunch of hippies who were collecting honey from beehives and transporting it in their van. I don’t mean to brag, but on one of the rounds I knocked out two of the three hippies all on my own. I really looked like I knew what I was doing. It was hilarious.
Stikbold manages to keep the different matches interesting by not only changing location but also adding different elements to the game. For example, in the hippie level, characters throw beehives at each other and have to dodge a VW van that comes barreling through from time to time. Each match also comes with three extra goals for players to try to achieve during the various rounds. For this match one of them was: “Tough Play: Push a hippie in front of the bus.”
This game does not screw around with hippies.
The third match was my downfall. This one was at the beach (shirts off, Jerome and Bjorn, here are your speedos) against a gang of bikers. Between a crab attaching itself to my head and my always running directly into the path of waves that came through to stun players, I had many difficulties with this level. I finally left it to my son, who easily dispatched the bikers. I don’t even think he needed the encouragement of my daughter, who yelled, “Imagine they killed your mom!”
Stikbold is light-hearted, fun, and not too difficult to manage once you memorize the different button pushes. My kids loved it and my son mastered it quickly. As for me, I’m still wondering if they ever do rescue famous female dodgeball player Heidi Stormbrow from the devil. Not sure I’m curious enough to endure another head crab, though.