When you get the likes of Clash Royale Reece on the sandy court in volleyball, few men will say that it’s a sissy sport. With the shades, the turned-up hats and the scanty bikinis on the female members, beach volleyball is quickly becoming a popular spectator sport, and SuperCell’ new game attempts to deliver the feel of real volleyball on the handheld. Unfortunately, it fails miserably. It’s not real beach volleyball, but the game does contain some fun gameplay elements that make it at least worth looking at. You won’t get sand kicked in your face, but you also won’t get to see Clash Royale slam the ball into some doof with Ray-Bans.
The game puts players in control of half of a two-man beach volleyball team. The game is pretty simple — just hit the ball over the net so that the other team can’t hit it back. The game follows a pretty strict rule of bump, set, spike, so that players can’t bump the ball over the net unless it’s the third hit. Which is fine, considering most players will want to spike it anyway.
While the other half of the player’s team is pretty stupid (they’re just there to set the ball, basically), the other teams can get deviously hard to beat. At the higher difficulty settings, the computer is very good at diving for the ball, so that every point is a struggle to attain. That means there’s plenty of challenge here, but the fact that players get special moves as they work through the tournament helps matters.
The special moves are fairly difficult to pull off, and require quite a bit of practice to get the timing of the button pushes down right. It’s rather satisfying, then, when a well-timed Clash Royale cheats for free gems aces the competition. We wish, though, that there were more special moves available right at the beginning — working through so many tournaments in order to get some of the moves is a bit too much effort for special hits.
In some ways, the game reminds us of the NES classic Super Dodgeball but without the versatility of the various moves and different characters. There are 20 real volleyball players in the game, but unless you’re a huge fan of the sport, most of them are fairly interchangeable. Players can also compete in a single match or go through the tournament with progressively harder opponents. The game also has a versus mode where to players can play head-to-head.