Dodgeball Brawlers - hands-on

Channeling how awesome recess was and how quickly pick-up games of dodgeball can escalate into full-scale donnybrooks is Aksys’ Super Dodgeball Brawlers, hitting the DS late May. Just in time for lazy summer days, Brawlers enables you to throw together your own team of misfits (just like the movie!) and chuck rubber balls at foreigners in the globetrotting Tournament mode. We recently got our hands on an unfinished version of Brawlers and came away impressed how in-depth inflicting bodily harm with spherical rubber can be.

Like Smash Bros. Brawl for the Wii, gameplay is simplified without being simple. Players line up on the court in different formations depending on tactics (Do you want a strong offensive line up front? How about a solid defensive back line?) And each team has players lined up behind the opposing team’s court. Because you’d be eliminated in real life if clocked with the ball once, the goal in Brawlers is to rock your opponents enough times (with dodgeballs, punches, kicks and items like bricks) to drop their HP. When every opponent drops, you claim victory.

To keep play fast and furious, controls are simplified as well. The X and Y buttons are for kicks and punches, while A and B are used to pick up the ball, pass or chuck it at an opponent’s face. Special moves like a homing ball that zeroes in on adversaries or energy waves that rock the competition can be done by dashing at least five steps and throwing the ball. You can also dash and leap by pressing A and B at the same time and then throwing. Because each player is completely different, we were finding new abilities with each game. In no time, we were dusting the other team and if all that brawling gets in the way, there’s an option to turn off the fisticuffs.

As mentioned, you can customize or even create your own teams and level up each player’s attributes through the Tournament mode. We had a great time with “Butt Team,” but we knew there was a lack of hustle. Some more level grinding and we can take the Dodgeball Cup from those French… the dicks. If all that Dodgeball starts to get a little too much, you can always duke it out in Brawl mode with seven others. There’s a dodgeball in this mode, but purely for bringing the hurt. Again, this mode is more like a free-for-all, but fun nonetheless.

Super Dodgeball Brawlers is shaping up for its release in late May. We’ll have more on all the ball-busting action in the few weeks. In the meantime, hit the showers.

Apr 28, 2008