Reviews - Updated on March 30, 2022

Relevant for the platform: XBOXSX

Dodgeball Academy tells a typical story for sports stories: the boy Otto suddenly receives an invitation to the Dodgeball Academy, where the best dodgeball players from all over the world are trained. On the same day, the annual tournament begins, the hero gathers his own team, faces the strongest opponent and tries to achieve a skill that would allow him to defeat even an invincible opponent. However, the cliches do not interfere with the game in any way – all the gameplay mechanics and storytelling are so successfully combined in it.

Ball in the face

The territory of the academy is not very large, but an open location, where more and more entertainment appears over time. There are side tasks, there are students who want to play dodgeball with you (there are obvious parallels with games in the Pokemon series – teenagers also stop a hero passing by), a store and a first-aid post open. The plot is divided into several episodes, and in each of them the list of available side effects and brawlers is updated. Ultimately, everything that happens here is related to the game of dodgeball – such a monotony can be a little tiring, but it would be difficult to come up with something else in this genre.

The main thing that the developers managed to do was to make the game world very comfortable. The 2D characters look great in the 3D scenery, the visual style is adorable, and the ability to curl up in a ball and quickly roll around the area is especially great. As you progress through, access to a couple of neighboring locations opens up, so you don’t have to spend time in the same places.

Even if the character is rolling, it will not save him from fights.

The academy in the game is not quite ordinary – students who touch the sacred artifact in the central square receive unprecedented powers and can further discover new opportunities in themselves. However, they still need to play dodgeball according to the standard rules: there is a field divided equally, and two teams that exchange balls. Wounded the opponent several times, he ran out of health, and he either leaves the game or goes over to your side – so he can catch the balls you missed and throw them at you from the back.

Team members who lose in battle can help a lot.

According to the plot, the characters become more and more experienced and dexterous: they learn charged throw, catch flying balls or beat them off, and soon they will learn what a “soft blow” is. When the corresponding scale is filled, you can perform a special move with one click. Someone releases electrical discharges at the places you aim at, and someone creates an aura that heals allies. Unfortunately, the abilities of opponents are often much cooler than yours – an attack that sends a whole whirlwind of balls in your direction, which is difficult to dodge, is especially strong. Even such opponents can be defeated, but questions arise about the balance.

“Pokemon” without Pokemon

To prevent fights from turning into a routine, the authors added pumping – upon reaching certain levels, all heroes improve their skills. At first, the protagonist sets fire to enemies only if he hits them with a charged throw, and over time, a regular attack will also start to deal fire damage. And a notorious guy named Bubble will be able to pierce through opponents with his charged ball.

Dodgeball Academia: Review

Lucky, lucky.

The gameplay of the characters also differ – if Otto catches the balls (to do this, you need to press the button a split second before the ball hits the hero), then some of his companions prefer to hit the projectiles. Moreover, while one character kicks them, the other beats them off with a bat, and for this it is advisable to swing a second earlier. Plus, instead of a jump, someone may have a jerk. The composition of the team is determined only by the player, and in most cases it is possible to switch between the three selected heroes at any time during the match.

It turns out an exciting adventure that resembles either Pokemon or Golf Story, but remains original. There is good character design, good humor with the regular destruction of the “fourth wall” (the banality of some plot points is also ridiculed) and pleasant gameplay – everything you need.

Dodgeball Academia: Review

In the translation, as in the original, subtitles increase, decrease and shake depending on the emotions of the character.

At the same time, there are elements that have not received proper development. For example, “first aid kits” – the more a character likes this or that food, the more health it will restore. You get food both for winning matches and in hidden chests. However, these “first aid kits” are practically useless – the inner miser constantly pushes you to go to the free first-aid post (fortunately, it is always close), and not to spend things from the inventory. So it turns out that a funny system with the love of heroes for food passes by the player.

Polyglot athlete

But in the Dodgeball Academy there was a place for a “chip” that I would like to see in all games. One of the options in the settings is called “Learning Mode” – if you turn it on, then by pressing one button you will display the translation of dialogs into another language. And with two taps, you can switch between languages, including English, Russian, French, Japanese, and several others.

Dodgeball Academia: Review

It is strange that there is no translation into Italian – it is usually included in the list of standard European localizations.

Of course, the solution cannot be called ideal, since localizers use a literary translation, not a literal one. But still, this is a great opportunity to strengthen the knowledge of a foreign language without resorting to an online translator or a paper dictionary. You play in English, meet an unfamiliar word, press one button and see the translation of the phrase into Russian. If such an option were in the Mass Effect trilogy and other huge RPGs, users would probably actively use it – so far, only the complete edition of Disco Elysium can be recalled from examples.

Switching between languages ​​is very fast.

While Dodgeball Academia isn’t the best dodgeball game of 2021 (I’d reserve that title for Knockout City), it’s still a very fun and engaging RPG adventure. Its authors had wonderful sources of inspiration, and they did not just copy their ideas, but created something of their own.

Pros: fascinating story with good humor; charming visual style; deep enough mechanics so that the matches do not get bored; “Training mode”.

Cons: monotonous tasks, especially side ones; “healers” are not very useful, but give out tons of them.

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