As the sea of indie games continues to dominate the Switch’s eShop library, the 3DS has seen a decline of support for its own online catalog. That’s not to say there isn’t anything that came out for it at all as of late; we did just get Detective Pikachu, and now Dodge Club Pocket has entered the relatively tamed scene. This title is by James Montagna, who has lent a hand in plenty of Wayforward’s games before. Somewhere along the way, the Dodge Club series was born, and its 10th Anniversary was celebrated last November.
The first thing one would notice about Dodge Club Pocket is the use of colorful character portraits in the menus and promotional material. If that’s what sold you on the game, though, do know that these don’t directly have a relation to what’s in the gameplay itself. In this case, they take a backseat in favor of super-simple resolutions. In fact, the game’s looks resemble those cheap discount handheld games you’d play if you couldn’t get a hold of a Game Boy. Objects on the screen are glorified clumps of pixels, and animations consist of either rearranging pixels or rapidly flashing colors. This is not the kind of game you should play if you are at risk of getting seizures; some effects can get almost as obnoxious as Electric Soldier Porygon.
The music is a bit more standard fare when it comes to indie expectations; you get to listen to a variety of NES-style pieces that play throughout the many missions in the game. It actually works finely enough given the fast-paced nature of Dodge Club itself. It helps that the soundtrack is catchy stuff to boot. The sound effects are less impressive since they are simple beeps and boops. In fact, a couple of them are so stock that I recognized them from when I played through the Pac-Guy series!
The gameplay in Dodge Club Pocket is as simple as it could get. I’m sure you’ve played a game like this at least once in your lifetime. You control a square, and you must avoid other things for a set amount of time. Sometimes the enemy square will turn into two smaller squares, and sometimes there will be two enemy lines moving across the screen border. There could even be gimmicks like speeding up the enemy objects or having a stop-and-go feature you must abide by.
What makes this game work is how it structures its collection of missions. Somehow, making the smallest changes to the playing field adds a new challenge for you to conquer. In fact, plenty of these missions can get downright difficult. Timing and reflexes are everything around these parts. Still, the drive to keep getting better and mastering the seemingly basic patterns is sure to get players to come back time and time again. Adding to the incentives are the unlockable extras ranging from songs from the OST to chuckleworthy mini comics.
Although rough around some edges, Dodge Club Pocket is a solid timewaster for the several-year-old Nintendo portable. It’s not the most original game around, but what it does effectively stimulates the need to overcome the many challenges and trials it has to offer.
Review key provided by James Montagna