Dodgeball Academia Review (Xbox Series X|S)

dodgeball academia review xbox series x

A point of discontent I have with many RPGs these days is that they take a lot of time to get fun. One glance at any skill tree could tell you a lot of things about how the developers delayed the acquisition of certain elements that should have been accessible from the start, just to feed into the illusion of a rewarding progression. Dodgeball Academia does not have this problem.

I think most of us would remember the amazing Blitzball aspects of the iconic Final Fantasy X, so It would be best to think of this game as an extension of Blitzball, a reshaping of the idea into its own extended universe. The game borrows heavily from Pokémon RPGs in many ways, and one might argue that the structure is somewhat childish and plain, but I would retort that even adults can enjoy it in ways that will be discussed later in the review.

Dodgeball Academia is now available on PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S (Tested), Xbox One, PC and Nintendo Switch. The game is currently playable for all Xbox Game Pass subscribers.

Dodgeball Academia Review


A common mentality among parents is that kids are too immature to know what is good for them, and while this might be true to some extent, they never actually stop to consider the interests of their child. Some parents also decide to give children some kind of an ultimatum, eventually leading them to decide between their passion or securing their future career as they see fit.

While some youth fail under the constant pressure of having no choice but to decide, others succeed in turning this dilemma into their strength. “How are are you willing to go for your passion and dreams?”, Otto the rebellious child is faced with this particular thought experiment, and thus he embarks on a quest (in the confines of his school grounds) to prove his true worth through constant effort and dedication to dodgeball.

Dodgeball Academia

We can think of Dodgeball Academia as a big allusion to the Pokémon series, or more particularly the competitive spirit these games laid out the grounds for. The goal is to beat other players and competitors through exchanging blows with dodge ball, and a lot of story beats are dedicated to portraying how teenagers are finding about themselves through sports and the friendships they make along the way.

Some alterations were made to integrate the rulings of dodge ball into the classic RPG framework. Players participate in up to 3Vs3 active time battles with the aim to reduce the opponent’s health meters until they are kicked out, but there are many interactive elements along the way to help turn the activity into more than the sum of its inspirations.

Players are constantly moving on screen, and there an advantage to be had from grabbing the balls before your opponent. You also have the freedom to control one party member at any moment and change between the characters in real time. All characters also have some kind of super attack that throws logic out of the window and turns the playfield into a cartoonish ripoff from Kuruko no Basket.

Dodgeball Academia

All of the things you can do on the field are available to you from the start, which makes sense for a sports inspired game. You can jump, dodge, roll, counter an incoming ball or even hold multiple balls at the same time. Each character’s most unique role (inspired from classic final fantasy jobs) is also made available from the start to enhance the teamwork and define their progression purpose.

Others may object to how progression works in Dodgeball Academia, which is centered around increasing the parameters or properties of the skills currently available at hand automatically with each increasing levels, but I think it was satisfying enough for a streamlined experience aimed towards kids, and there was no gatekeeping of certain elements or aspects behind convoluted progression systems or annoying side quests.

And specking of side quests, they not so different from the regular Pokémon approach either, where players are waiting at every corner to ambush you and start a fight out of nowhere. There is even a healing center that seems like a carbon copy of nurse joy’s everywhere hospital. The only down side is that there are a lot of missable quests that could be locked forever if the player decides to go forward into the next chapter.

Dodgeball Academia

This in our opinion was a very weird design choices that forces your hand into clearing up the boring side quests and ambushes before completing the story segment as you might miss out on some cool upgrades and experience points. It not also a literal journey of self discovery as there are a handful of places to discover and the sight of them gets stale pretty quickly in the closed setting of your school.

I can’t argue though that the developer of this game knows what they are doing and for what reason. If you haven’t noticed from my earlier reviews, I am currently learning Japanese, and so I was pretty glad to see the inclusion of a “Learner Mode” that allows the text to be swapped on every single menu and line of dialogue. This is something Pokémon fans would greatly appreciate as the games are also used in studying Japanese due to the extensive use of Hiragana letters which make the reading easier.

The game has eight languages to choose from so you can’t go wrong with dodgeball academia if you are intending to learn a language and have fun in the process. Of course all of this wouldn’t be possible without the love that went into designing the ecosystem of the game and the menus to be brimming with personality, while keeping it simple and engaging at the same time.

We shouldn’t forget to mention the Local Versus mode, which allows some characters who are naturally unplayable in the story segments to be present here for you. However, we would have appreciated more care into making the competitive segment of the game more gratifying through online matchmaking or any other extra challenge modes for gaining the most out of this unique sports-rpg hybrid.

Finale

Finale
80 100 0 1
Dodgeball Academia is a very quirky and stylish game that does its own twist on the Pokémon formula to make it more joyful and engaging while at the same time allowing new players to find the joy in learning a new language with the help of Learner's mode. It even has furigana characters and big text sizes for easy reading of Japanese characters and we wish more games would adapt this approach.
Dodgeball Academia is a very quirky and stylish game that does its own twist on the Pokémon formula to make it more joyful and engaging while at the same time allowing new players to find the joy in learning a new language with the help of Learner's mode. It even has furigana characters and big text sizes for easy reading of Japanese characters and we wish more games would adapt this approach.
80/100
Total Score

The Good

  • Very stylish animations and slick menu designs
  • Good implementation of dodgeball rules into the rpg formula
  • Learner's mode is a great inclusion for all scholers with 8 different languages to pick from

The Bad

  • The charm of the setting becomes redundant after a short while
  • Side quests become inaccessible after each story chapter
  • Should have included online capabilities to prolong the life of experience
Total
6
Shares
Related Posts