Fun cross-platform party game, but not without its issues.
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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that OddBallers is a downloadable multiplayer fantasy sports game for Nintendo Switch, Xbox One/Series X/S, PlayStation 4/5, and Windows PCs. The game's based on the sport dodgeball, but infuses some zany elements like explosives and electric fences, farm animals and fish, and other silly weapons. There's no blood or gore, but cartoon violence, as well as "toilet humor" in some of the objects. Parents should also know there is an option to spend real money in the game to unlock additional content.
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What’s It About?
Consider it a wacky take on Dodgeball: ODDBALLERS is a multi-platform party game that challenges players to engage in combative matches across several environments, using many zany items and tactics to inflict virtual harm on opponents. The multiplayer-centric game supports cross-platform play between Xbox One/Series S/X, PS4/5, Nintendo Switch, and Windows PCs. Just like the real game of Dodgeball, the primary goal is to throw and hit opponents with a red ball (or with many other items, too), and stay within the predetermined play area. You can take advantage of the environment, such as aiming for explosive gas tanks and tennis ball launchers, to inflict more damage on nearby opponents. While the core team-based gameplay remains the same, each of the 20 or so arenas -- like a rustic farm and tropical islands -- has its own set of rules and mini-games. You'll rack up points to to earn a match point, which can be redeemed for unlocking other areas. You can choose the length of the session (typically between 10 and 20 minutes) and it's possible to tweak the rules for the mini-games, too. Gamers can unlock and wear funny costumes and other ways to customize your character (haircuts and celebratory dance moves) whether you play locally on the same TV or PC (up to four players) or online (up to six players).
Is It Any Good?
This can be a fun and frenetic multiplayer game -- especially when competing against friends beside you -- but the silliness wanes after a few plays. Oddballers offers many modes, some of which are "Common" (all arenas), such as Last One Standing (try to stay alive), Bounty (eliminate opponents to make them drop stars), Target Practice (eliminate all opposing targets), and Mascot (survive the longest on a mascot). Then, there are modes based on the location, such as "Collect honey from the beehives," or "Defeat the Barnyard Brothers," who torment you on a tractor and while wielding a pitchfork. You can perform challenges to earn XP (experience points) as well. On a related note, included in OddBallers is Loyalty Pass, a "benefit program," where you can earn prizes by playing the game, as well as XP to unlock up to 50 levels of content, such as accessories and outfits. There are also two kinds of currency in the game, Tokens and OddBucks, the latter of which can be used in the OddBallers shop. You can use real money, too, to buy OddBucks.
You can play an online match (public or private), if you subscribe to a console's online service, but PC matchmaking and play is free. You can also start a local match, But's up to you if you want to enable or disable cross-platform play. The issue, though, is finding a match to join and play, which is concerning because it wasn't easy to find opponents. What's more, there's plenty of tech issues, like crashes and onscreen action slowing down when there's a lot of things going on. Hopefully, all of this can be fixed with a downloadable patch. When things worked well, the party game is fun, fast, and silly. But even with the many modes, mini-games and costumes, OddBallers loses some of its charm after a while. That, and the technical issues need to be ironed out. Overall, this cross-platform game is fun, and priced well, but don't expect it to have longevity and replayability.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the cartoon violence in this game. Is the impact of the violence in Oddballers affected by the blatantly unrealistic action in the game, even though it's based off a real activity frequently found in physical education classes? Is there a risk younger gamers will act out in real life, such as throwing potentially harmful items at someone in the schoolyard? Or do kids know this is just cartoon silliness and there is no connection between games and real life?
Are there any games from school that you'd like to see made into a video game? Do you think that tag, hide and seek, or other schoolyard games would work in a video game setting? Why or why not?
- Platforms: Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Windows
- Pricing structure: Paid ($19.99)
- Available online?: Available online
- Publisher: UbiSoft
- Release date: January 19, 2023
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Sports and Martial Arts, Pirates
- ESRB rating: E10+ for Cartoon Violence, Crude Humor, In-App Purchases
- Last updated: January 30, 2023
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