- Publisher: Curve Digital
- Developer: Game Swing
- Release Date: 04/08/16
- Console: PlayStation 4
Before I begin, let me state that I’m sports games are typically not my go-to genre. I’ve never been an athletic person, and I’m perfectly content to avoid sports altogether, both in real life and on the console. That said, between the catchy music and the Minecraft-ian graphics there’s something very charming about Stikbold that’s fairly addicting very early on.
What’s particularly attractive about Stikbold, unlike so many other games of its ilk, is that there’s an actual story here. And yes, it’s a bit absurd, but it’s a fresh breath of air compared to all those other games where the entire game is just “Go sports! Do sports stuff because sports! Congrats! You won at doing the sports!” What’s more, the story mode is built to be played single player, though having a second player is also an option (and quite frankly, makes it much better. But more on that later).
As far as game mechanics, the basic controls are fairly easy; all your actions are controlled with the twin sticks and the two triggers. Basic movements and throws are easy to get a handle on, and for those of you that take your dodgeball seriously, there’s more advanced controls, like shoving opponents and catching balls mid-throw. Mixed in the fact that each stage has its own quirks, and the game gives you plenty of aspects to master.
Touching on that multiplayer aspect from earlier, what sports game would be complete without some form of multiplayer? Stikbold certainly has that covered, with both a co-op story mode, and a dedicated multiplayer mode, for those of you that like to beat your friends instead of working with them. Unlike most other sports games though, if you *are* playing with a friend, teamwork is absolutely crucial, or you’ll find yourself wanting to literally throw things at your friends.
Unfortunately, as fun and quirky as this game is, it does have some pitfalls. First and foremost, single player mode by yourself by can be quite frustrating at times; the CPU that takes control of the second player can be helpful during regular matches, but during the boss fight levels, or the gimmick-heavy levels, I found that more often than not, it just got in the way. Additionally, without an actual person there to coordinate with, getting most of the level challenges was next to impossible. Furthermore on the boss fights, unlike the regular levels where losing a match just meant you’d have to try harder in the next one, losing at any stage during a boss fight would put you all the way back at the beginning; a process that soon got tedious.
All in all, Stikbold was very fun. With its cute antics and style, and somewhat absurd story line, it was definitely an enjoyable experience, and carries solid weight as a multiplayer game. What’s more, it’s fairly cheap for a game that offers both replay-ability and multiple modes. Despite it’s challenges, it’s quirkiness is endearing and its characters are both somewhat cute and unforgettable.