I’m going to be completely frank here, I wouldn’t be surprised if this game is completely buried by releases and deemed as shovelware. But honestly judging this game at face value would be a disservice to this game which, believe or or not, packs in quite a punch (or should I say spike?) into an otherwise minimalist presentation. The game shaves nearly all the fat, and while it has its quirks like Mario tennis style extra modes and what I almost would call a parody of the Smash bros/Soul Calibur character creation mode, the game is ultimately about its simple, yet refined controls/core gameplay.
Super Volley Blast is a 4 player couch multiplayer (no online as of this publish) party volleyball game that has an extremely low skill floor, yet shockingly high skill ceiling for how few options the game actually presents (think games like Divekick). The game only has 3 buttons: a jump, a hit, and a set/intercept light attack. As per mostly accurate volleyball rules, each game is played 2v2 (you have to autofill cpus to play). In the basic gameplay, each team has 3 hits to clear the ball from their side of the field, and each player must alternate hits. It is advised to set the ball up for one another until the final third strike, whereas the player presses the jump key, presses the hit key at JUUUUUUST the right moment, and WHAM! Gets the strike – yeah by the way, the game has a spike move but it’s a combination of button presses. Wow is this like a fighting game??? Kinda actually. It’s a sports game at heart, but the unique aspect of Super Volley Blast is the ability to aim shots with the left stick. By using numpad notation, the field is broken up into a 3×3 grid of sorts.
In this case, I held my control stick down and left to target where the reticle is pointing. Not pointing the control stick would aim for the center, etc. This mechanic is what makes the game feel the most like a fighting game: THE MINDGAMES.
While at first, it may feel nigh impossible to react, the game has a dashing hit similar to the Mario tennis games, and you feel quite masterful as you manage last second maneuvers. You can even save shots from going out so long as it never hits the ground. The quick nature of the gameplay, coupled with the tight controls really serve as a solid foundation for a sports title. I believe this game was budgeted for its price: $10 gets you just enough: I would equate it a cheaper NBA Jam or Mario tennis.
LIGHTNING ROUND: game modes- GO! Quick match: as basic as it gets: start a match with up to 4 players and play the standard game. Tournament: basically the average arcade mode from an anime fighting game: wouldn’t fault you for skipping, but the writing is quirky and the gameplay is still solid. Super blast: modifiers for the match. Your special match from smash bros if you will. Only modifiers I enjoyed were max 2 hits and chicken/bomb ball (both of which are VERY chaotic). Avatar editor: deceptively robust and unexpected: I had a good time with it in that Mii maker way, and there aren’t any crazy cosmetic microtransactions, so yay. Phew that’s the last of them: sounds sparse, but decent considering what you put in.
I think you’ll know if you’re the type of player to buy this game. The game reminds me of a cross of Windjammers and Mario Tennis in a good way. Those games have stuck with me for a while, so another new developer throwing their hat into the “kinda sports games but not really” genre is always welcome. I think solid online could really make this no question, but your enjoyment of the game may vary. As for me, this is my most reluctant gamer seal of approval, if only because I feel like opinions on this game will invariably be polarized. If you want my opinion: I left pretty happy.
Super Volley Blast – $9.99 steam version.
Publisher: Unfinished Pixel.
Release Date: Nov 1, 2018.
I was provided a review copy from the developers for the purposes of this writing. My opinions are still my own.