• Here in Blighty, ex-school kids of a certain age will remember two rituals from school. One so horrific that it barely should be mentioned in polite company – the Barn Dance / Country Dancing classes. This terrible travesty forced upon the pimply faced youth of Britain seemed to happen all too frequently at my school, and I remember someone actually breaking their own thumb in woodwork classes just to get out of doing it.

    The other ritual was British Bulldog. Usually this “sport” was reserved for the wettest, muddiest day of the year and during P.E lessons you lined up with the rest of the wheezy kids to face off against the school’s meatheads, who were always chosen to be the catchers. Run as fast as you can, dodge their gouging thumbs and punching fists, and reach the other side of the school field. Sounds dead easy eh? I think I’ve still got the scars from one such P.E lesson where I was clothes-lined by one of the school bullies and knocked out cold.

    But I digress. Stateside, instead of Bulldog they have Dodgeball – and the idea is to hurl a ball at your opponents so that it hits them. If they catch it they can go on the offensive and throw it at you and your team.

    The name of the game “Double D Dodgeball” summoned mental images of Dead or Alive Extreme Beach Volleyball for some reason, but if you’re expecting pneumatically enhanced sporting challenges here, you’re in for a crushing disappointment (in fact, I’ve got to wonder how many people blindly hit the download button on the demo for precisely that reason).

    Double D Dodgeball

    Double D Dodgeball sees you taking on a human or AI opponent with a team of drones. Each drone can throw or catch the ball at the opposing team, but the ball can only be grabbed when it’s your team’s colour or neutral, and can only be grabbed from your side of the pitch.

    When the ball rebounds from your end wall, you can nab it and hurl it back at the opposition. Once you’ve hit them all, and knocked them all out for a spell in the sin-bin, you win the game.

    Double D Dodgeball has been roughly hewn with retro styling but is reasonably easy to control, even if your AI team-mates can take absolutely ages to rescue you from the sin-bin by tagging an opposing team member.

    The game plays a lot like a cross between Crossfire and Laser Hockey but without any of the adrenaline-laced thrills of either. In fact, at times the game happens at such a slow pace that you’ll think you’ve been hurled back 30 years to the time when gamers countrywide plugged in ludicrously expensive sports games into the aerial socket of their tellies in order to watch stark white blocks bounce around the screen, occasionally making a “boop” or “beep” when they hit something.

    DDD is, for want of a better word, unsophisticated and it’s incredible to think that there aren’t actually that many games like this on XBLA. I mean with all the distaste I can express about this, at least no-one’s revived Pong yet. Have they? Seriously though, this game really just feels like a slightly jazzed up Pong-alike for the noughties, dressed up in the pretension that it alludes to the more violent human-based game played out across the playing fields of Middle America.

    Taking on human opponents doesn’t even lift the title above the dross either. Once again, it’s testament to the fact that no one else gives a rat about this that I couldn’t find another live player (even a random one) to play against. As with a few other XBLA titles I could mention, when you can’t even find another single player on LIVE to pit your skills against, you know there’s some serious suckage going on.

    So for the price of this, you could probably nip down to your local Woolies and grab a copy of the South Park episode concerning Dodgeball – which is immensely funny, if a little violent – or if you’ve really got no taste whatsoever you could rent the Ben Stiller Dodgeball movie. Pound for pound both of those options would be a better bet than throwing away good money on this.

    Score: 2/10

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