Unfinished Pixel’s new Super Blast series kicks off with Super Volley Blast; an arcade-esque volleyball game that doesn’t take itself too seriously at all. Much to be expected, the game is widely accessible and suitable for players of all ages. Perhaps its main drawback is that it’s too simplistic to be considered challenging, but fun nevertheless. It has its fair share of issues, but as a first in what is set to be an excitable franchise, it’s a fairly decent addition. It’s also pretty generous regarding its achievement output, which should please the hunters.
Starting up the game, you’re presented with a sizable list of options. There’s quick match, a tournament mode, the game’s campaign, super blast, an avatar editor, a light tutorial and a list of challenges tied to achievements. The main meat of the matter is the game’s campaign. Here, you’ll take on a range of volleyball sessions against the game’s increasingly difficult opponents. There’s a total of seven stages to work through, with two variants of “plus” campaigns to chase after that. The game does pretty well at feeding players into it.
The first match allows you to bond with the game’s easy-to-understand controls. Movement is tied to the left stick, with touch/lob, jump, hit and pass, tethered to the controller’s face buttons. In the campaign, you’ll be taken across a small handful of unique and colorful locations. Here, you’ll face off against some wacky opposition as you pursue the end game; rip-offs of Hulk and Spiderman, Donald Trump and Kim Jong-Un, and more. The campaign can be played in two player local co-op, and I would advise that that’s how you approach it.
Why? Because when playing solo you’re partnered with the game’s incompetent AI. Several times did my teammate fail to respond to the ball – leading to failures more often than not. Furthermore, on the odd occasion that my AI partner did exactly what I needed it to do, it would counter my appreciation by slamming the ball outside of the fields of play later on. It would have been nice to see more consistency on this front, especially later into the game. I tell you, it’s not at all fun having a lengthy match sabotaged by your very own teammate.
These problems seem to be isolated to when the opposing team hits the ball onto your side of the field. I say this because whenever I was passing the ball to my teammate or setting up a power shot, my teammate would react accordingly. However, when the opposing team would either power shot the ball or (at times) simply tap the ball over the net, I felt like I was doing all the legwork through fear of my teammate not responding. Bringing another person along for the ride alleviates this to some degree, and arguably makes it more fun.
The rules of play are as straightforward as can be; all explained in the game’s brief tutorial. The aim of any given match is to slam the ball into the ground of your opponent’s field. You’re not allowed to touch the ball twice in a row and you’re only afforded three consecutive team hits in a row, or else you grant a point to your opposition. Send the ball beyond your opponent’s field and you’ll also reward them with a point. You’ll back-and-forth like this until either you or your opponent have earned the amount of points needed to win.
You’re able to control the aim of the ball following each strike. This is achieved via the left stick, in which you’ll want to aim for ground that isn’t being covered. The same can be said about performing a power shot; consisting of jump and slam. This will send the ball hurling to its desired location at high speed, and whilst a block will almost always defend against this, it can be very tough to counter it in time. Starting out, the campaign will simply have you working through single-set games, but before long, you’ll need to win three-sets.
This doesn’t really change up the game per se, but lengthens it instead. Nevertheless, for the most part, Super Volley Blast holds its own quite well. It does become somewhat repetitive before long, but not so much so that it ever feels like a chore. When you’ve finished the campaign, the other modes on offer will provide some additional play time. Quick play is fairly self explanatory and needs no introduction. The same can be said about the tournament mode, in which you’re able to grab three other players for some tourney fun.
Super blast, on the other hand – which can also be played as a tournament – allows for some neat additional extras. Here, you can set some modifiers to change up the pace of each game. Bomb ball, for example, swaps the volleyball for a live bomb. Should it explode on your side of the net, your opposition will achieve three points. Not outlandish enough for you? Try Icy floor, which swaps the terrain of your map for, you guessed it, slippy ice. There’s five modifiers in total, and you’re free to stack as many of them as you want to.
In regards to the avatar editor, there’s nothing special about this unless you want to earn some achievements. Changes made to your character are cosmetic, and despite the fairly decent variation of choices, there’s little need to spend much time here. Touching up on the visual design, Super Volley Blast gets a thumbs up. There’s some nice vibrant colors and a decent degree of detail across the game’s handful of maps, all of which goes hand in glove with the passable audio design. All in all and for its price, this is an adequate title, at best.
Super Volley Blast hardly goes above and beyond, but it does indeed offer a fun, colorful, and accessible arcade experience nevertheless. I take issue with its lack of depth and its somewhat incompetent AI when playing solo. However, with that in mind, the game just about manages to meet expectations through both its local multiplayer component and its quirky, play-it-safe concept.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox One. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version.