Thursday, May 24

Review: Disco Dodgeball Remix [Nintendo Switch eShop]

Online first-person shooters have obviously been around for quite some time now and will continue to be popular forever most likely. What’s great is when someone takes the basics of that experience and begins to play with it a bit. In particular I’ve always been a huge fan of team-based experiences that became more popular, offering up a bit more than standard deathmatch. Going in a bit of a different direction, but still fundamentally having that core shooter experience at its heart, is Disco Dodgeball Remix… and for the right crowd it can be a pretty fun time.

Sporting a pretty wide array of arenas with colorful lights everywhere in many ways the environments remind me a bit of playing laser tag. You have a great mix of wide open spaces, ramps, some corridors, and plenty of angles for ricochets. This sets the stage for some fun and unpredictability, and that’s what really defines the core of the game’s experience. Once you manage to grab a ball you’ll be able to charge up, take aim, and try to nail one of your opponents. Mobility is a bit more limited than I’m accustomed to, your jump being on a charge takes a bit of getting used to and in some ways makes it tough to use but overall your boost tends to temporarily speed up seems more useful anyway. A small variety of power-ups are strewn about, though only about half of them did I find to be of much use. If you’re really feeling daring you can try to catch an incoming ball, which does knock out the person who threw it, but in the heat of things that’s definitely tricky.

In order to get your bearings before trying to go online I’d recommend starting with either the Arcade Mode or simply playing a Bot Match to get a feel for things. In Arcade mode you’ll face off against a steadily-increasing number of opponents and then a slightly souped-up boss of some sort. You’ll accumulate money you can then use on some upgrades between rounds to tune up your play and in general this is a good starting point for developing technique and getting some unlocks that will help you customize your character a bit. Your multiplayer options are 2-player local (which does work but lacks the excitement the chaos of many players brings) and then Online Multiplayer, the great thing being that by default the 8 players in matches will be filled by bots who, if anything, can be too good. With a pretty wide variety of team-based modes ranging from traditional to silly I found just enjoying the chaos of it all to be refreshing. Capture the flag, straight team deathmatch, variants where specific players are the target, the diversity of modes really helps keep things interesting and fully chaotic and that’s when the game is at its best.

Of course there’s no getting around some of the rougher edges, mainly that the controls definitely take getting used to and are on the floaty/imprecise side. Most of this is felt in movement but if you’ve been playing a lot of Splatoon 2 comparing aiming in the 2 games is also pretty night and day. Thankfully everyone is on the same playing field in this regard, so nobody gets an edge, but at times the bots can be a bit aggravating with their ability to make shots that feel improbable. I’d say that while the crafting system is nice in theory, with your earning a special random crate periodically with something in it to enhance your character, in a game like this I don’t know if most people will have the longevity in it to really get a combination they’re happy with. A simpler system where at least items you craft yourself could be chosen may have been better to help people get customized and more connected with their character more quickly.

In the end Disco Dodgeball Remix is unapologetically what it is, for you to take it or leave it, and I respect that. In terms of total content and options for play both alone, with a friend, or online the game is absolutely stacked. Exhausting the Arcade and various Challenge modes will take time for people who enjoy chasing leaderboards and with so many varied arenas and play modes online matches are generally surprising and crazy. There’s no getting around its quirks, and if you’re expecting pinpoint precision control you’ll be disappointed, but if you’re up for some chaotic play that’s very unique Remix has its charms.

Score: 7

  • A multitude of viable single-player options
  • Varied arenas
  • Diverse multiplayer match modes

  • Local multiplayer is a nice option but pretty limited
  • Floaty controls
  • Without cross-play live player availability could be a question, though bots will fill in