Day 182: Hieronymus Bash

Posted: 2011/05/10 in Indie Games

I’m purchasing an Xbox Live Indie Game (XBLIG) every day, seeking out the quality titles that got lost in the shuffle and are not well represented in the top 50 lists on the Xbox Dashboard. Today is day #182, and today’s game is “Hieronymus Bash”.

Hieronymus Bash was originally released in the “Community Games”-era of Microsoft’s Indie Games channel, specifically in early 2009. It’s, perhaps unexpectedly given the title is an apparent parody of a Dutch painter named “Hieronymus Bosch”, a dodgeball game. I’d never played one and decided that it was high time I try a dodgeball video game on for size. Perhaps the old adage is true: if you can dodge an ironic reference to a famous Dutch painter, you can dodge a ball.

First, from the developer (Kindling):

“Super cute apocalyptic dodgeball! Play with friends or against the computer. 2-to-4-player team and free for all battles. Hallelujah!”

Hieronymus Bosch is famous for his religious paintings, and the game’s setting takes it cue from that. You play either an angel or a devil, and thanks to your winged nature you can hover in addition to jumping up and down. The level design and gameplay remind me a little bit of Bubble Bobble, mostly due to the layout of the platforms and the feel of the jumping, rather than the top-down arena-esque dodgeball contest I had anticipated. Perhaps the 2D side-view battle is common for dodgeball games, but being new to the genre I simply didn’t know what to expect.

The game was originally 200 Microsoft Points when it came out, and 80 points today. It’s easy to recommend at either price, it’s a fast-paced game that supports 2-4 person multiplayer (in addition to AI bots). The game’s humour is well done, with a light-hearted approach to the subject manner and a lot of personality behind the characters. The game scales the view well depending on the number of players and their disposition around the map, as well, which contributes to the extremely solid presentation.

Basic gameplay has you trying to hit each opponent with the dodgeball four times, to knock them out of the game. The third successful attempt leaves the victim highlighted as being eligible for a knockout blow. Each time you’re hit by the ball your character physically grows in size, making yourself an easier target for the next hit. Once the ball is thrown, it reappears somewhere else on the map whether the throw is a hit or not.

Taking a cue from games that let eliminated players continue to participate in some fashion (such as shooters that let eliminated players provide information to the remaining combatants), Hieronymus Bash let’s eliminated players continue by turning them into a spectre that can race around the arena and block shots and otherwise get in the way of opponents. For anyone who enjoys Dodgeball games, off-beat humour, or classic Bubble Bobble, it’s easy to get your dollar (or what have you, depending on local currency) out of this game. The trial is a good representation of the final product, and is a strongly recommended download.

Click here to download “Hieronymus Bash”, and then please come back after playing to rate the game.



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