Volleyball is one of the most neglected sports when it comes to video games. We have decent football, cricket, baseball, wrestling, UFC, WRC and literally every other sports game coming out at regular intervals except Volleyball. However, that is not the case anymore. We now have a hardcore volleyball video game which is actually a very solid video game experience for all volleyball fans.
Spike Volleyball is the first of its kind, indoor volleyball simulation video game and it is the answer to all those fans who have been asking for a decent volleyball game for a long time. Developed by Black Sheep Studio and published by BigBen, Spike Volleyball is a solid entry in the world of sports video games. This is our review of Spike Volleyball in which we will tell you why this is the best volleyball game ever created.
I am not a big fan of video games and the only sport I follow is WRC that too because of my love for cars. Since I have never ever heard of a volleyball simulation game before in my life, I decided to give Spike Volleyball a shot and I was provided a review copy. I started playing the game and since volleyball is totally a new sport to me, I lost even the first tutorial match without scoring a single point.
The game teaches you everything right at the start however I was still a little confused but I am glad that I did not stop playing the video game. Right after the tutorial, I jumped into the single player friendly matches to get a little grip of the game. The game looks very pretty and I was very impressed with the visuals right from the start.
Spike Volleyball features 50 real world teams from around the world. Both men and women teams are featured in the game. Players can look for their favorite teams and play with their favorite volleyball players. You can pick any team in the game right from the start and jump in different modes that Spike Volleyball offers.
Although matches take place indoors, you can still see little details such as moving shadows and other visually appealing details here and there. Player design is also very good and the developers actually used motion tracking sensors on real world professional players to make sure that the players in-game have the most authentic movements possible.
I jumped in a few single player matches where I learned the basics and some advanced moves as well on my own. The game is very well designed as everything is built right into the level itself. There are no separate power meters and other distracting menus while playing the game. Every information is right there where it should be and that too in a very minimalistic way to provide a very authentic experience.
I played around 5 and 6 matches in single player and I was able to learn the basics of the game and to the point where I actually started winning matches. This was the point where I actually started having fun with the game. I played some more single player and finally I was delivering Ace serves to my opponent.
After winning around 4 or 5 single player matches, I decided to jump in the online and test out my luck. The online was very smooth and I found a match within 10-15 seconds. There was hardly a wait. Unlike most sports video games, you choose a team prior looking for a match which is a great feature for players who have a slow connection.
There are no last minute team choosing in Spike Volleyball. I jumped in online and surprisingly, I ended up winning my first match but sadly the opponent left the match right before my final score. My final victory score was stolen from me. Confident from my first win, I decided to jump back in yet another online match. This time, history repeated itself and the opponent left right before his bitter defeat.
I am not aware at this point whether there is a penalty system for players leaving online matches but sadly I could not win a single match online because every time I was about to win, the opponent left the match. I still unlocked the first victory trophy somehow so I can at least boast about it. Online overall is a very smooth experience and there are no network problems.
I tried Spike Volleyball Career Mode as well and it is very well made. You choose your own team, their colors, logo, uniform and everything yourself. At the start, you are assigned a basic squad of players but as you play the career mode, you can get better players by sending out talent scouts and agents to different events.
You can then add them to your team and continue to improve your squad by adding better and better players. The career follows a simple calendar format where you play matches on designated dates and then winners move on to the next tier of matches and ultimately finals where the champion is decided.
Spike Volleyball also features weekly challenges which you can complete and earn in-game currency called V-Credits which is mostly used in the Career mode for paying back agents and such. I highly recommend that after playing the tutorial at the start, play a few friendly single player matches and then head back to the tutorial because you will understand it much better a second time.
Spike Volleyball has everything that a proper sports video game must have. It has a detailed career mode, single player and multiplayer modes, practice modes, team customization, custom teams, team formations and many other features. It even features a very decent replay mode where the game will instantly show every major event happening in the match.
It has very good visuals and sound is very well implemented as well. The menu has some really cool upbeat music to get you into the mood while during matches, every sound from shoe squeal to that ‘thump’ on the ball is right on spot. Everything entices you to keep on playing Spike Volleyball.
Spike Volleyball is however not a perfect game. It has some problems as well. The most annoying problem I noticed was the hitboxes. Sometimes the player body would be somewhere else while hitting the ball and the ball would still be hit. The arm and the ball will have some distance between them and the ball would be hit already.
This is not very prominent in the gameplay but really annoyed me while watching replays. This is not a game breaking thing but does not appeal to the eyes while watching your last ace server. Another thing that annoyed me was that sometimes if the ball went too high, the camera would not zoom out all the way. This meant that ball was out of frame and I did not know when it would fall down.
The game also features only two camera modes, rear and side. I personally loved the rear mode but sometimes it was not zoomed out enough specially when I was serving. If I served from the right side of the court, the start of the power meter was hidden and it only came into my focus when it half way through. The game needs more camera views.
Apart from these little hiccups, Spike Volleyball proves an excellent and solid volleyball experience. Black Sheep Studio has done a stellar job in filling the gap in the sports video games with their newest title. I really liked Spike Volleyball and I will recommend that everyone at least give this game a shot if you love sports video games.
For their first Volleyball game, Black Sheep Studio has done a fantastic work. I highly recommend them to gather as much feedback from fans as possible and implement that on their second title because if the first title is this good, the second title would blow us away. There are minor details that need working on but the main core game is solid and flawless.
Spike Volleyball is the best video game out there for you if you love volleyball as a sport and a very good title for you as well if you like to play sports video games. The learning curve is very low and you get the mechanics on your tips very easily if you spend a little time in the game. The game offers a very diverse catalogue of the volleyball world and does not fail in any department. It is a solid title in the sports genre and we like it a lot.
Final Score: 8.5/10