|System: X360 (XBLA)||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Blazing Lizard||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Gamecock||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Sep. 3, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4 (8 Online)||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Amanda L. Kondolojy
It's no secret that there's been some serious bad blood between pirates and ninjas lately. With viral video hits like "Ask a Ninja" and the similarly titled "Axe a Pirate" taking the internet by storm, this fictional dispute has taken popular culture by storm and created endless hours of Pirate and Ninja feud-related media. But, no matter which side of the pirate-ninja rivalry you're on, Pirates vs. Ninjas Dodgeball gives you a fun way to duke it out middle-school style!
If you don't remember, dodgeball is played by picking up a ball and throwing it at other people in order to get them "out." There are several different variations of this game featured in Pirates vs. Ninjas Dodgeball including traditional, enhanced, and combat dodgeball. Traditional dodgeball is the most basic of modes and binds players to their teams' side of the playing field. Players are only allowed to cross the center line if they jump over, but they will be instantly transported back to their side of the playing field. Enhanced dodgeball takes the centerline rule and makes it more flexible. You will be able to cross the line, but you'll have a three-second timeframe with which to get back on your side of the line. Combat dodgeball is the total war mode which does away with the line completely. Of course, total chaos ensues!
There are several different modes to play. Pirates vs. Ninjas' main story mode chronicles the war between these rival factions as seen from the point of view of your selected clan. Each faction has three different difficulty levels to play through, each with a corresponding team size that increases with the difficulty setting. What is interesting here is that the different difficulty settings actually represent different levels of the gameplay and all work together to form a cohesive story. It is sort of weird because you wouldn't think of difficulty settings representing the different stages. Regardless of the structure, the main issue with the different story modes is that they are all entirely too short and much too similar.
No matter whether you choose Pirates or Ninjas (or play long enough to unlock the Robot or Zombie clans), the story mode is exactly the same. Aside from differences in scrolling text and dialogue, you'll go through the exact same levels no matter who you are playing as, and the whole thing gets a little bit boring. Since each level will only take you about half an hour to complete (at the most), you're looking at a game that can be completed in less than an afternoon, which can lead to some serious buyer's remorse.
Some may argue that the story mode is not the centerpiece of the game, and, for the most part, I would have to agree. The most fun you will have playing Pirates vs. Ninjas Dodgeball will be playing with your buddies locally or online in a fully customizable exhibition match. Although there are only four different stages to play on and three different ways to play, Pirates vs. Ninjas Dodgeball makes for some quick and dirty fun with your friends. Just don't expect this game to hold your interest for too long.