Apparently inspired by the internet meme- “who would win in a fight between pirates and ninjas?”, developers Blazing Lizard have taken that question and put it to the test by pitting them against each other in a game of Dodgeball.
I swear to god I am not making this up.
Pirates vs. Ninjas: Dodgeball is quite possibly the oddest title I have had the misfortune to play all year (actually, that privilege still belongs to Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust- the less said about that one the better).
Letting you decide which team you’d rather play on (guess what the choices are), you’d think the aim of the game would be the standard rules of Dodgeball established by the popular Ben Stiller film.
But no, these rules are slightly different. For starters if the ball hits you, you are not out. Each member of your team has an energy reading and each time they are hit their energy is depleted. Another amendment is the fact you can run all round the court (forgive me if I am wrong - but in standard dodgeball rules you are restricted to your own side - you can't run around willy nilly). Even more bizarre is the option to physically beat your opponents up in an attempt to gain the ball - surely this sort of thing would constitute as a foul?
Anyway, I can see why these changes are made- any traditional video game based so stringently on the rules of Dodgeball would probably be quite boring but tragically, with the case of Pirates vs. Ninjas, it doesn’t make any different.
Firstly the game suffers from some of the most questionable controls I have ever encountered (controls that can‘t be changed I might add). You use the nunchuck to control your character's direction and the wii-mote to sling the ball at your opponents. The Z button on the nunchunk makes your character roll forward, obviously a control designed to enable you to dodge oncoming balls. Rarely does this function work because it appears the ball can curve in any direction and will hit you regardless of whatever you try to do. Essentially the weakness of this game is its attempt to cram in all these controls- there’s just too much going on and you find yourself using the same old tricks to get by, in turn making the whole experience very repetitive.
Graphically the game is pretty bland too- unless of course you are a fan of visually big headed cartoon characters. The courts do little to please the eye and the cutscenes feature absolutely no animation, forcing you to read what the characters are going on about, which in turn leads you to keep pressing "A" to get this drivel over and done with as quickly as possible.
Having said that, Blazing Lizard have done a good job in keeping all the teams looking visually consistant- the pirates, the zombies, the ninjas and even the cameo appearance of their earlier effort, the Mushroom Men, all look like they fit in this world.
Sound-wise, the game does it job. However the music does grate after a while, with its chuckly melodies on endless loop.
All in all, Pirates vs. Ninjas: Dodgeball is one to avoid (pardon the pun). What could have been a nice quirky little title is let down by repetitive gameplay and confusing controls.
Verdict: 5 out 10
- Visually consistant
- awful controls
- repetitive gameplay
- repetitive music