Spike Volleyball (PC) Review with stream
An indoor volleyball sim - you don't see many of these
Rubber banding AI
Possible to make people less interested in the sport
Volleyball is an odd sport. Not necessarily regarding the rules or anything pertaining to the people who enjoy it, but the fact that most mainstream game companies don’t make many games based around it. There have been attempts throughout the years, most notably in the Dead or Alive franchise, but most of them are either footnotes or entirely forgotten. The question then becomes where this game will fall in that small list of titles.
The answer is that we will hopefully forget about it.
The main problem is that the AI rubber bands so hard it is possible to give people driving by whiplash. It is entirely possible to be several points ahead of the other team, and then suddenly have them rally and destroy the player’s side with a completely standard return. Correct button pressing, timing, team changes, nothing will matter, the characters on the team will suddenly decide that they just don’t want to make any attempt to continue as functional AI.
Check out our stream of Spike Volleyball embedded below:
The other noticeable problem is how poorly everything syncs while playing. The blockers in the front row all move at the exact same time, as if they are being controlled on the same exact puppet string. The ball, when a player is able to make contact with it, rarely ever touches a hand, and more commonly floats three feet away from the character—as if they are playing with some unknown telekinetic power in some much, much better game.
Then there are the announcers. Everything is scripted, there is no real context to what they are saying. When one team loses it is a “huge lose,” even though, due to the rubber band AI, it is normally within a point or two. Modern video game commentary will randomly give in game tips in the place of a tutorial to let the player know tips about player fatigue, or skill increases. This game just plasters generic sayings with overly board voice actors and calls it a day.
Finally, the package is 40 dollars. It might be a different story if it wasn’t so expensive from the start. There might be a sale or patches that can fix the problem. The issue comes down to there simply not being enough here to even fix for the asking price. Perhaps check out the original black box Volleyball on NES for another indoor volleyball sim.
Also available on Xbox One and PS4.