Dodgeball night fever.
I remember hearing the name of some Steam game that got good buzz and chuckling. That name was Robot Roller-Derby Disco Dodgeball, and instantly, even now, I’m intrigued and bemused. It was made by a single guy, got good traction thanks to some influencers, and now thanks to an assist from Zen Studios, is coming to Switch under the name Disco Dodgeball Remix. The name is a little less ridiculous but still sums up the vibe of this out-there first-person shooter. You play dodgeball and the environments are disco-esque.
The glory of this game is in the absurdity. Controlling a one-wheeled robot, you dart around picking up balls to charge up and throw at opponents. The ball can ricochet and bounce to nail an enemy. You can even catch a ball with proper timing to defeat an enemy. A lightweight arcade single-player mode features wave-based challenges of enemies with periodic boss fights and the ability to buy perks in between stages. While it follows a consistent structure, the sheer randomness of the bouncing balls helps to give this mode legs. A challenge mode also helps improve your dodgeball prowess with specific tasks and horde mode scenarios. All of these have online leaderboards and this game does the good thing where your friend’s high scores are displayed clearly as you finish.
While single-player is more fun than I anticipated, the meat and longevity of Disco Dodgeball Remix is in the multiplayer, which is split into local and online modes. Disappointingly, local multiplayer only has support for two players. It makes it good for tabletop play, but with only two players at once, it lessens the fun of the couch mayhem. Two players can still make for a good time, whether competitively or cooperatively, but four would have been awesome.
Online, you can play against up to eight players and it quickly devolves into hot nonsense in a good way. Balls fly, robots hop around, and the kill counts soar. Power-ups help tilt the scales more, with fireball throws and pogo stick jumps. While I found pure deathmatch to be the best, this game is dripping with variety in its modes. You have objective based capture-the-flag riffs as well as a weird Hoops variant. In my limited experiences, online ran fine, but obviously the longevity of it is dependent on how many people are active. Fortunately, the bots are good competition, filling in the games when not enough players are there.
Disco Dodgeball Remix makes the most out of a simple premise and it’s a goofy, fun time. It’s easy to pick up, but even still, some elements of the controls never felt quite right to me. The boost and jump, which are used on meters that refill, felt restricted. The jump in particular requires a charge to be fully effective, which is stilted. I adjusted to it over time, but I still never really liked it.
Multiplayer is where the mileage of this game is, and if you can get into this with friends, it can be glorious. Otherwise, it’s a really funny concept that might only hang around for a night or two of laughs. That’s totally fine, especially because the name Disco Dodgeball Remix is still humorous by its very existence.