Dodgeball Academy | RPGFan
South America isn’t a region typically associated with game development, but that may need to change. I say this because I’m talking about Dodge ball academy, a very cool sports RPG inspired by the animes of Brazilian developer Pocket Trap. From the moment I started the game it felt like I was in an oversized sports anime series and had to remember that this was not an anime IP pre-existing sport… but it should be!
The story stars an unabashedly optimistic boy named Otto who wants to be the best of the titular boarding school who trains overpowered dodgeball players. Otto is overconfident because he actually thinks it is his fortunate day he runs into the school bully who challenges him to a game of dodge ball on the first day of class. It was a joy to follow the adventures of Otto, his friends and his rivals for 10 to 15 hours. There are eight chapters, and each chapter plays out like an anime episode. Because of this, Dodge ball academy Looks like the first season of an animated series and is preparing well for a follow-up.
You know what you get with Dodge ball academy, and the story is good for what it is. This game is not a deeply philosophical school drama like the Character games – it’s a dose of cartoonish fun about a wacky dodgeball school and the antics of its extremely eclectic students and staff. It doesn’t matter if you are a human, a vampire, a balloon, a talking cat, a cube, a gorilla or whatever; if you can play dodge ball, you can go to this school.
I have a few minor issues with the script, but they didn’t inhibit my enjoyment. An example was that some NPC dialogues “reset” with each chapter: During a particular chapter, I became a member of an NPC trio’s secret club for a side quest, but after the chapter was completed, their lines reverted to “no foreigners allowed in.” our secret club! I would also have liked to have been able to create my own team name instead of having to choose from three options.
I would be remiss if I did not mention the optional language learning feature, where the main text is displayed in a language, but a subtitle style bar at the bottom of the screen displays the text in the ‘one of several other languages. So you can have the main text in English and the subtitles in Portuguese. Since the game takes place in a school where learning is fun, you might as well learn something while having fun. I thought this was a cool, unique idea that I would like to see used in games more often.
It is impossible to deny it Dodge ball academy has style too! Clean visuals aren’t the most graphics-intensive, but they look great. Expressive 2D character models fit very well in brightly colored polygonal environments. The influence of the anime is quite significant in the appearance of the game, but the vivid colors of the environments and characters also evoke Dodge ball academySouth American roots. Function is never sacrificed for the sake of style, and I have found the menus both striking to look at and intuitive to use. The rock soundtrack features upbeat, upbeat tunes that blend well with the planned stages and locations. I especially like the theme of the main campus with its catchy guitar and throbbing bassline.
Dodge ball academy plays better with a gamepad, and while the default controls weren’t inadequate, I would have liked to have had the ability to remap the buttons more to my liking. Sometimes I found myself wanting to take an action, but ended up hitting the wrong button in the heat of the moment. Unfortunately, the keyboard controls are worse, especially if you’d rather use WASD for movement rather than the arrow keys. The Z, X, and C keys are for primary controls, and using them with the WASD movement can put your left hand in awkward positions. On the other hand, keyboard commands are more bearable if you use the arrow keys to move around, but there is still no option to remap keyboard shortcuts.
The game’s frenetic real-time battles all take place on various dodgeball courts. Some matches are played using different dodgeball rules than others, and as you progress the game introduces new elements, which keep the fight fresh. These aspects are implemented quite well and the battles never seem fancy, even with the various elements and terrains. The mechanics fall under the “easy to learn, hard to master” category, and the tutorial sequences in the first few chapters are fun, quick, and useful.
Several students end up in Otto’s team, but only three can fight in combat at a time. Fortunately, each character earns experience points, whether in the match or eliminated. While the boss and sub-boss battles play out as the plot progresses, normal encounters start out much like the trainer battles in the storyline. Pokemon series, where entering another student’s field of vision triggers a fall. There are only a limited number of enemies in each chapter, so fighting battles is essential to earn much-needed cash and EXP.
During the fight, you have to think fast and be quick, because crushing buttons will make you crush. Not only are the strength and timing of your regular and special attacks important, it’s also essential to master defensive moves such as the various catches or blocks that each team member can use. Pressing the right button at the right time to catch or counter incoming hunter balls without taking damage is crucial for success.
You can control the difficulty with the damage dealt and damage received counters. By default, they are set to 100% each. Damage dealt ranges from 5% to 400%, while damage received ranges from 0% to 400%, allowing you to hone the challenge however you want. These counters can be accessed at any time in the settings menu, including during battles. While the default settings weren’t too bad, there were a few times I adjusted them because some matches felt cheap.
In battle, you control one person while the AI controls your teammates, and with the push of a button you can switch between them. The AI of teammates is questionable at first, but as they progress and learn more skills, I didn’t feel like I was keeping them that much. However, some options for tinkering with their AI tactics wouldn’t have gone wrong. I don’t need an extensive programming system like Final Fantasy XII, but a simple option for each of my teammates to focus on attack or defense would have been good.
At the end of the day, however, Dodge ball academy hits all the right notes to become a successful multimedia entity. Not only can I see an animated and comic book or manga series, but I can also imagine a plethora of Dodge ball academy merchandise like stickers, clothing, toys, phone accessories, balloons and much more. You must therefore register Dodge ball academy today and become the protagonist of the sports anime that you always wanted to be.