Dodgeball is a sport lodged deep in the American consciousness, as much due to high school trauma as fun times with friends. Stikbold! wants to take some of the pain out of dodgeball and make it a good time with a friend, and it succeeds, although for only so long.
This game wears its all-ages aspirations on its sleeves. It’s covered with bright colors, blocky characters who mostly deal in broad types, and cheery music, all tied together with a semi-’70s aesthetic that can be charming albeit a bit forced. It’s not going to revolutionize sports games, but it’s easy on the eyes and thus easy to play.
Stikbold! is, well, it’s dodgeball. You and a buddy pick an avatar and team up to mow down the other team while dodging environmental hazards like hippies driving badly. In mechanics it’s a bit like a twin-stick shooter, but the emphasis on teamwork helps it stand out.
While there isn’t a ton of depth here, there’s more than you might at first think. Each arena has its own set of environmental hazards you’ll need to keep an eye out for, and often beating a level and moving on requires you to work together with a friend.
That said, the game does have some issues working against it. The controls could be a little tighter, especially aiming, and it takes a while to make sense of the game’s physics. The arenas also get crowded quickly with both players and hazards, and the whims of the designers can undercut any skill you’ve developed with the game. While there’s definitely a lot of fun to be had here, after the third time you get wiped out not by better playing, but by a hippie running you over at random, you might be tempted to flip over to something else.