A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Messages of friendship, friendly competition, helping others, and being true to yourself are threads that run throughout the game. Players frequently challenge each other, but it's mainly in good fun.
Positive Role Models
Otto is a kid that wants to be the best dodgeball player he can be, even if it means going against his parents wishes to follow and fulfill his dreams. He's competitive, but friendly and supportive of all players, and tries to help others. While some of the other kids can be mean, jealous, or aggressive towards Otto and his team, they do eventually gain their respect.
Ease of Play
The control scheme is simple to learn, and additional moves (such as charging up your power meters or your ultimate strike abilities) are explained over each chapter of the game. The challenge is getting your timing down to dodge or catch balls thrown at your team from your opponents, which can come from all sides depending on the match or the attack used against you.
Violence & Scariness
Players frequently toss dodgeballs at their opponents, while trying to catch or avoid incoming throws from their opponents. While special effects can electrify or set enemies on fire, no blood or gore is shown as a result of matches. Defeated enemies are displayed as being dizzy from dodgeball collisions.
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While there are some minor insults and bravado from opponents, there's nothing overtly offensive in the dialogue.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Dodgeball Academia is a downloadable role-playing game for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and Windows PCs. Players take on the role of a young boy that wants to be the best dodgeball player in the world, and controls him and his squad of athletes as they take on rival players. While players will frequently find themselves in matches against other students, the controls are easy to learn. The challenge comes in the timing of catching thrown balls or avoiding incoming attacks while launching your own in response. While you can set opponents on fire or electrify them, there's no blood or gore shown, and defeated enemies lie on the ground in a dizzy state. Apart from some minor insults and bravado from some opponents, there's nothing inappropriate included in the game.
Is It Any Good?
This role-playing game (RPG) develops quirky characters and fast-paced action of dodgeball into an entertaining adventure. Like other RPGs, Dodgeball Academia brings a group of kids together and pits them against opponents to see who the best party might be. Except instead of bloodshed, you're gaining experience, pocket change, and bragging rights over your fellow students. As you progress through the eight episodes of the game, you'll defeat countless players that stand in your way, eventually turning some of your rivals into teammates and earning their respect (as well as their special abilities) which you can use to defeat even harder teams. Plus, you're building up new powerful throws, adding elemental attacks, purchasing new gear and food to make your team stronger, and boosting your ultimate attacks to secure your victory on the court. What's also nice to see is a team of misfits come together and become a formidable force, led by a kid who's genuinely a nice individual that only wants to prove that he's a skilled dodgeballer. The game also packs a nice amount of humor, and it's nice to see an RPG that's not solely focused on a fantasy adventure or futuristic setting to entertain players.
There are some issues that takes a bit of air out of the balls being thrown. For one thing, while this is a unique adventure, it's very short -- you can beat it in about 15 hours, so it really flies by. It's fine that it's short, but it would be awesome to have a longer experience in this dodgeball centered world (fingers crossed for a possible sequel). A larger issue are the spikes in difficulty, which pop up unexpectedly, such as back to back fights without a chance to heal your team, environmental hazards that imbalance your play, or teams that give you a surprising challenge. This may cause you to restart a match multiple times until you figure out how to overcome the obstacle in your way. These issues aside, Dodgeball Academia is a fun and unique twist to the RPG formula that sports fans and RPG fans will enjoy.
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