As you may well know, one of the staples of internet time wasting is arguing who’d win in a fight: pirates or ninjas? No one takes it more seriously than Blazing Lizard – the developers behind this 360 arcade title – who based this conflict as the central theme to a dodgeball game.

Boasting three different game modes with numerous rule sets and four teams to choose from, does this game hold up to the energy that people put behind the internet meme or does it fall short of the mark?

While the graphics are serviceable, they don’t push any boundaries and fail to deliver a satisfying experience. While I try to keep an open mind, there are some pretty big problems that can

The quickest way to sum up the sound is to repeat myself. Over, and over and over again. The music track doesn’t vary, so using the 360’s custom soundtrack is essential. However, I can’t hold that as a plus to a game that almost requires it because of the lack of creativity.

There is no voice acting whatsoever and in this day and age it is a glaring fault. Yes, the game is glib and lighthearted- by not including voice and inflection it completely loses heart. The developer left all the potential of campy ninja-speak interacting with all the “Yarrs” and “Me Matey” on the cutting-room floor. Instead, you get only sound bites that don

Pirates Vs. Ninja’s Dodgeball is, first and foremost, a dodgeball game. You have jump, throw, pass and dodge as your main actions. Each character has a standard swing attack and a unique combat ability, but the special attack can only be used when your stamina bar is full. Beyond that, you can switch between your AI teammates either through passing, going to the next player in the list, or the one closest to a ball.

There are four different throws, and three different defenses. You can catch the two slower throws (normal / homing) for a health boost, or swing at them to return to sender. The fast shots achieved by throwing at the apex of a jump or throwing a passed ball immediately can only be dodged by using the right joystick to leap out of the way. There isn

Blazing Lizard provided four playing fields (beach, assembly line, snowy dale and graveyard) and each one has natural obstacles such as trees, rocks, and gravestones that can provide some cover. I found though, that I wished they didn’t obstruct the games as much given its hectic nature; it’s often difficult to tell whether there is an obstruction in your shot until you’ve thrown the ball.

Camera problems plague this title and that’s from a predominantly single player experience. There should be no excuse here; it should flow. Instead, you spend more time trying to find yourself than perfecting your skills. Since all characters play virtually the same, the only reason you need to switch players is to access their varied skills or potentially better position on the map. I tried playing the move-around strategy; the change wasn’t easy to follow with eight characters in play.

I played several local co-op and vs. games and the only difference is that you end up not cursing the enemy AI as much. Your own team doesn’t execute specials very often, but the enemy AI will, on occasion, execute their specials with deadly efficiency; sometimes it was so frustrating that I wanted to see if they could dodge a wrench (or traffic, for that matter).

If you play Pirates Vs. Ninjas Dodgeball in a party setting I could see this as being more fun, but as a single player game, it simply doesn’t fly.

Each team gives you nine battles to complete, progressing from 2vs2 against the three other teams up to 3vs3 and 4vs4. There is a thin plot for each team, and once that’s done you have no happy memories, a few dents in the wall and a new controller (as brought on by fighting the pirates AI who seem to have the uncanny ability to hit all your characters with one special and put your team down in mere moments).

I don’t know if it’s a popularity issue or broken live multiplayer gaming, but at the time of review I can’t consider the Live portion of any significant value to the GT score. I held off on sending this out in hopes of getting some online gaming perspective. As of now, I’ve tried dozens of times to find a single online game. I have explored all the different options (ranked, quick match, and the like), different times of the day, and even waiting for 10-15 minutes at a time without a hint of success. I should also note that I also tested other games to ensure it wasn’t an ISP / Xbox Live issue.