Here is my first impression of Pirates vs. Ninjas Dodgeball that was released to the XBLA this past Wednesday (09/03/08). By no means will this be a final review of the game, as I only played through the story of the Pirates and Ninjas. I will also add that I have not played any online games, so that will not be in here.
Pirates vs. Ninjas Dodgeball is a fairly simplistic game. The main goal of the game is to constantly hit the other team with the ball until the character’s health is gone. That’s about as simple of a description I can give it. The game does have options to make it a little bit more challenging to win though, but I’ll touch on that in a bit, but first I want to jump right into the overview of the game.
Pirates vs. Ninjas Dodgeball will set you back 800 MP ($10). There is a Story Mode for each team (Pirates, Ninjas, Zombies, and Robots), as well as Local and Online Co-op play. And to top that off, you can play Ranked and Unranked matches over Live. Ok, so now that the game information is out of the way, let’s hop into a little bit about the two stories I’ve done, game play, and touch a bit on graphics.
The story is broken up into four segments. These segments are the difficulty of the game. You have Easy, which are 2 vs. 2 games against the other teams. The next difficulty is Medium, and those games are 3 vs. 3. Then the final difficulty, Hard, are 4 vs. 4 games. The story builds with each difficulty, so in order to experience the entire story of each team, you have to play all three difficulties. The story isn’t something spectacular, but it is funny, and the more you play, the more you just have to find out what happens. There are dialogue moments before the games and following the games when you win. Other than telling you what happens in the story (which I’m not going to do), there really isn’t much to say about it, except that the Pirates hate the Ninjas (didn’t see that one coming…lol). I haven’t quite figured out how the Zombies fit in, but I see how the Robots do as you play the Ninja story.
The game play is relatively easy. You grab a ball and attempt to hit the other team’s players until their health runs out. Seems easy right? Well, now add the ability to dodge the balls being thrown and some special abilities, and now you have yourself a challenging game of dodgeball. You move the character with the left thumbstick, while the right thumbstick allows you to dodge on coming balls. Fairly simple and it works great! As you get close to a ball, the character picks it up. The ‘X’ button throws the ball if you have one in hand or you can hit your opponent three times to stun them, the ‘Y’ button lets you use the character’s special ability only if your meter is full, and the ‘A’ button allows you to jump. The left and right bumper buttons allow you to switch between your teammates. The controls aren’t challenging at all, and to be honest with you, I picked up on them while playing.
As far as the graphics, if you seen any of the screenshots, then you already know what the game looks like. You play in bright 3D environments. For an arcade game, the graphics are fair for the purpose of the game. You can distinguish who your team is and who your opponents are.
My impression of the game is it’s a fun, mindless game that you can pick up and play and not have to know much about. But, if you’re not a fan of the sport of dodgeball, don’t waste your points. I enjoy this game because it’s weird, and at times funny, especially watching a Zombie slapping a Ninja. As I always say, don’t make your final judgment on what I tell you, try out the demo, they’re free, and I think it’s only a 140mb download.