Platform: PlayStation 2
Review Date: 5/11/03
Another entry in the girls volleyball arena, except that this one is overly difficult to play. The fact that the directions are in Japanese doesn't help, but even so, the controls seem overly complicated and very touchy. Timing is absolutely crucial in this game, and you're guaranteed to spend more time with your face in the ground than actually hitting the ball. The most frustrating control issue is the fact that you can't actually move your characters... That's right, for whatever reasons, you're only in charge of hitting the ball, and the game engine decides where to position your team members, which never seems to be the right place. As far as I can tell, you also can't aim the ball, so the game appears to simply boil down to the right combination of bumps, sets, and spikes all executed with precision timing (and each move requires different timing).
Apart from the quirky and frustrating controls, the game's presentation and production values are top notch. There are tons of options in the game, which are all unfortunately in Japanese and incomprehensible. World tour mode has your six-player team competing in a tournament against teams from Japan, Nederlands, Italy, Brazil, Russia, China, Cuba, and America. You also have some amount of control over your players' attributes, but again, it's completely incomprehensible. Exhibition mode is a six-on-six match that supports up to four players, while beach volleyball mode features two-on-two matches that also supports up to four players. And finally there are challenge modes for honing your skills, which is the only way to determine what the controls actually do.
Everything about the game is bubblegum sweet and super cute. All of the super-deformed
anime styled girls are extremely cute, and the cel-shading adds a nice touch to the cartoony
tone set by the game. The music is bouncy and upbeat, and the voice acting is appropriately
chirpy and enthusiastic (including the audience inexplicably shouting "so-ney!" every time
someone serves the ball). The most disconcerting aspect of the graphics is that the camera
lens seems ultra-wide, which makes characters closer to the camera appear to be unnaturally
gigantic. This game certainly has potential to be a lot of fun, and perhaps with english
instructions it would be. However, for those of us who can't read Japanese, the
complicated control scheme considerably outweighs the enjoyment factor.
Copyright © 2006 Alex Smits