OddBallers certainly lives up to its moniker; it’s odd by name, very odd by nature. This quirky multiplayer title for the Nintendo Switch comes packed with silly minigames and Rabbid-worthy antics that could easily have fallen spectacularly flat. Thankfully, despite some significant user interface issues, OddBaller’s nonsensical gameplay manages to bring a smile.
The game takes two to four players—either local, online, or AI—and pits them against each other in various minigames. Each outing is a twist on dodgeball, ranging from a fairly straightforward “last man standing” to more zany concepts. Whether you’re tasked with catching the most fish, beating up a car, or playing a musical instrument for the longest time, there’s always a ball (and other objects) nearby to hurl at opponents to stop them in their tracks. It’s these more left-field minigames that provide the most fun.
For example, the musical instrument game features a trumpet on the ground. Each player must attempt to grab it, which instantly starts your character playing some silly tune while haphazardly running around. A timer above your head indicates how long you’ve been playing, while other players throw items to knock the trumpet away from you. The aim is to hold the instrument the longest. It’s super silly yet hilarious.
There are so many moments like this that bring genuine laughs, like catching chickens and tossing them in a truck, or avoiding molten lava from a nearby volcano. Some, like the lava example, are reminiscent of Mario Party’s own minigames, making them less original but instantly playable.
There are several options to customize your experience. You can choose between local or online, select the number of rounds, and even decide which minigames to play. It’s every player for themselves most of the time, but sometimes you’ll be randomly paired up. There are even minigames forcing you to work together as a team.
Another customizable feature is the character selection. Put simply, you can choose between a Rabbid or an “oddball”. Oddballs are strange-looking humans who can be altered to your heart’s content with skin color, facial expression, and clothing options. They really are odd-looking, though; I much preferred using a Rabbid. These critters can also don a peculiar hat or other object to help differentiate them.
OddBallers is at its best when playing with buddies. The online connectivity works fine, proven by a hilarious Pure Nintendo game night. I did have trouble finding anyone else to connect with, though. When you’re short of a real-life person, you can substitute players with AI characters. These bots leave a lot to be desired; no one wants to be paired with them in those 2v2 matches. OddBallers is not meant to be played alone.
Despite all this nonsensical fun, there are a few issues under the hood. One of the main problems is the lack of an intuitive interface. Working out what on Earth is going on proves to be a frustrating experience at first. It’s unclear how to even begin a game, with a menu that leaves a lot to be desired. Once you’ve worked it out, you’ll be fine, but that initial vagueness smacks of poor design. We encountered several glitches, too, usually having to do with pausing. Twice we somehow skipped a whole minigame while paused. Load times also seem much longer than necessary.
But it’s the odd little additions that make this game so unique. You never really know what’s about to happen; electric fences randomly zap you, dynamite explodes, lawnmowers run over you, or chickens dance around. It’s chaotic to say the least, and genuinely funny.
Overall, OddBallers provides what you’d expect—an odd collection of multiplayer mayhem. Despite the user interface flaws, there are plenty of laughs to be found in this title. Just make sure you don’t play alone.
Review: OddBallers (Nintendo Switch)
OddBallers provides what you’d expect—an odd collection of multiplayer mayhem. Despite user interface flaws, there are plenty of laughs on offer in this quirky affair. Just don’t play alone.