One of the worst childhood memories I have is of playing dodgeball in my early years of elementary school. I’ll never forget walking one of my good friends to the nurse’s office after he got his legs hit out from under him, finding himself landing head first into the unforgiving asphalt. Selfishly I took that as an opportunity to get out of playing dodgeball, and walked him over to the nurse’s office, staying there until after recess for “moral support.” I’ve obviously grown past that fear so when I took the assignment to review Strikers Edge, a video game take on dodgeball, I kept those old fears deep, deep down.
Strikers Edge is Fun Punch Games' take on dodgeball in a medieval fantasy setting. Instead of throwing inflatable red balls at each other, you throw spears or shoot projectiles. There's only a total of eight fighters to choose from. Each character has slightly different attack moves that you can learn relatively quickly. All have an attack that can be charged up, a special attack, a dodge, and a block. The teams, playing in 1v1 or 2v2, stand on either side of the four different arenas and throw/shoot projectiles at each other. Characters have a health meter and can only take a handful of hits before being knocked out of the game.
This sounds simple enough but Striker’s Edge is an incredibly difficult game when played against the CPU. I spent my first hour of the game at the normal difficulty, and even after going through the game's tutorial, I found myself losing handily. A lot of this has to do with the manual aiming. Even on the lowest difficulty, you need to line up your shot without being hit. By the time you do line it up, though, I found myself being nailed over and over again. Strikers Edge requires you to line up a shot in seconds while dodging out of the way of incoming attacks and doing it all over again. It sounds simple enough but in practice, I found it incredibly challenging.
Playing against a real person is where Strikers Edge really shines. It’s not a game that takes much explaining, so within minutes you'll be hurling damage at each other, or in my case, wildly missing over and over again, laughing hysterically. It’s surprisingly a good time and although it still remains difficult to actually win, the game reminded me of a lot of the couch co-operative play from my youth. Striker’s Edge does have online play and for the few games I was able to play online, it all worked incredibly well. Unfortunately, though, you lose that something playing it online as opposed to playing with someone next to you. Like dodgeball in real life, the game is more of a social sport than anything.
Sadly, as much fun as I had with Strikers Edge, there’s just not a lot of game here. There’s a short campaign for each character and online play. But with a limited character roster and a restricted number of arenas, you get the gist of the entire game within the first couple of hours. The amount of enjoyment you will get from Strikers Edge is going to depend on how into the gameplay you are - and if you have real humans to play against. Mechanically the game is solid, but its charm wore off rather quickly.
Strikers Edge is a pretty pixel art game with a very focused design and a well-developed experience. Unfortunately for the game, the fun is only there for the first couple of hours and the luster sadly quickly wears off. I appreciate the simplistic design but the unforgiving AI and limited roster/arena scope makes the game feel less then it could have been. I enjoyed Striker’s Edge and could even see this game becoming a breakout hit if the developers were able to expand the game's roster and loosen up the difficulty a bit.
I'm the Owner & Editor in Chief of Darkstation.com. After spending seven years as the reviews editor I took over the site in 2010. The rest is history. Now I work with our amazing staff to bring you the best possible video game coverage. Oh and I really like sports games.