Hieronymus Bash

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

Once past the title pun and parody title screen, Hieronymus Bash has little to do with Hieronymus Bosch, the 15th century Dutch painter known for his fantastical religious works. Hieronymus Bash is a cute open dodgeball game where up to four players control an angel or devil, seeking to knock out the opposition. Up to four players can jump and hover around 20 arenas divided among three themes inspired The Garden of Earthly Delights -- heaven, earth, and hell -- each with an assortment of platforms and randomly placed souls (re: dodgeballs) with which to battle.

Basic gameplay has the angels and devils racing after dodgeballs, picking them up, and then hurling them at enemies with the right trigger. Once thrown, regardless if the soul connects or not, the dodgeball is reset to some new location and the player has to fetch one again to reload or attempt a risky catch of a ball throw his or her way. The goal here is to knock out the opposition, and a knock out blow requires that the player successfully strike some opponent three times. The angel or devil will gradually grow with each hit and will become illuminated with a halo or pentagram once the fourth deadly strike is available. Hit or miss, the player's status reverts back to normal and the process repeats again once a soul is pitched in this state.

Those knocked out of the game can still use their ghosts to run interference and block enemy tossses. These sorts of elimination games tend to bore those sitting out while a match is underway, so it's great to see Hieronymus Bash keeping everyone playing like this. Hieronymus Bash makes for an excellent party game whether playing in Free For All or Team Battle modes. It's easy to pick up and play, and the game scales nicely to fit all of the action on screen. While matches can drag out a bit longer than I can for thanks to how long it takes to charge up a kill shot, that's easily tolerated with everyone playing under the same rules and sudden death kicking in after about two minutes. It's only when playing alone against bots -- bots which can be set to Easy, Medium, Hard, or OMG! levels of difficulty -- where having to repeat the charging process after missing shots again and again can be a bit of a chore.

Hieronymus Bash has a cute illustrated tutorial to teach players the basics of the game but for whatever reason lacks an option to adjust the game's controls. I don't understand why Kindling thought using the A button for hovering and jumping and then the right trigger for throwing and catching was a good idea. This is a simple two-button arcade dodgeball game, so jumping over to the triggers feels rather unnecessary and unwanted in a game such as this. Aiming also isn't as precise as I would like, and I found myself often closing in on a target to increase my chances of striking should the ball not be thrown as I expected. Thankfully, Hieronymus Bash is just as playable in the end, and that minor nuisance can be swept under the rug.

I got Hieronymus Bash back when it was 200 points, and I believe its new 80 points price is a steal. Behind the simple, cute graphics is an excellent multi-player title and alternative to the more traditional Downtown SMASH Dodgeball. Hieronymus Bash is a fun "fighting" dodgeball game and makes a good candidate for any video game party.

★★★★☆
July 16, 2010
April 10, 2009 | 80 points
Developer | Video | Download

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