Ubisoft seems to be in the news a lot lately, from plunging stock values, delays of Skull and Bones again, and now the semi-flawed release of their newest title OddBallers. Now let me start all this off by saying Ubisoft is one of my absolutely favorite developer/publisher teams out there. I am a massive fan of Watchdogs, Far Cry, The Division, Etc etc. I think they get a lot of heat for putting out many good, not GREAT, games. Does OddBallers fit this description as well? Lets get into it.
If you hadn’t heard about OddBallers prior to this review, I well wouldn’t be surprised at all….Ubisoft didn’t’ seem to do much beyond some Twitch streams to promote this game. But at it’s core it’s a party game that is focused on dodgeball-like elements with tons of crazy twists and turns straight out of a Raving Rabbids game from the Wii era. The game is full of zany characters all done up in a deliberately ugly art style, to add to the comedic value, although I preferred using the Rabbid character it just seemed to fit the bill better. Now Mario Party this is not, but it can be every bit as unfair as Mario Party or Mario Kart can be.
You hop into a party of 4 or 6 players (or AI, more on that later) and begin the competition. There are more than 30 different arenas and minigames to play through, so there is a decent level of variety to keep you engaged and not bored with what is going on, and due to the randomness of this game it doesn’t get old very quickly at all. You are awarded (or not) points after each game until a victor is declared. The games vary from a traditional last man standing dodgeball game to tossing chickens into large machines while avoiding electric fences and bombs….yep that happened. Anything can be used as a weapon, from lawnmowers to turrets to carrots. If you can pick it up you can chuck it to your advantage. The controls are easy enough for any player, you have a grab button, a throw button, and a dodge button that’s all you need. There are numerous cosmetics to unlock and purchase through in-game currency as well (they offer no benefits, but are fun to use as well).
Now ultimately where I had a problem with this game was playing online, for MANY days, I was unable to find a single match to join and play (in either 4 or 6-player mode) and even the few times I did, I was one of only a few people in the lobby so we would have to wait and/or add in AI in order to play. I was able to squeeze in some matches with family but a large amount of the time I had to resort to playing with AI opponents only. While Ubisoft did do a great job of making the AI feel good to play against (there are numerous levels to set them) that made it a good balance of difficult, crazy, and fun. But I am concerned in the longevity of this game if at launch it didn’t have enough players to support matches. Much like a previous Ubisoft game I liked Rainbow Six Extraction, it looks like it may have a player base problem, which is really tough when you keep making multiplayer-focused games.
If you have a family to play with (and enough controllers to support it) this is a fun party game with few shortcomings. But If you were planning on engaging with folks online to play, you’re in for a bad time. But it is a budget-value title so you aren’t spending much as a point of entry honestly.