Harking back to the simplest times of arcade multiplayer games, Volley Pals is a refreshing breath of air. To say a game is simple is often treated with a dismissive, negative connotation but when you are a local multiplayer game focused on delivering quick fire thrills and spills, simplicity is a good thing. Volley Pals brings plenty of thrills and spills for a budget price and the key to everything is its varied level design.
You can play Volley Pals with 1 – 4 players, with decent bots with actual brains filling up any slots you covered. This allows you to play 1v1, 2v2 or 1v2 for some lopsided but funny matches. Volley Pals is volleyball and you have three controls to learn. Left, right and jump. Headbutting the ball will send it flying off in another direction and whilst angles and trajectories are definitely a thing, there is a bit of leeway for chaos. For instance, sometimes hitting a ball square on will make it drop to the fall and other times it might still get some air. Most of the time you’ll be able to jump up and forward into the ball to send it flying over the net to your opponents. If the ball hits the floor, or you touch it more than 3 times in a row, your opponent wins a point. It is very easy to understand and the controls are responsive and easy to pick up.
With the gameplay loop simple and clean, Volley Pals invests in different levels to whip up chaos. There is a low gravity level in space where both you and the ball can glide around. You can fly over the net too! Then there’s a level with a buttons to raise and lower the net height for some tactical ball trapping. One level has a ghost floating around that will grab the ball and throw it in a random direction and another has portals in the air that will spit the ball out in a different area. Possibly the most creative one contains giant robot hands that allow you to play rock, paper, scissors in the background for bonus points! There are nine levels initially and then a custom level generator which lets you mix and match all kinds of things like court size, ball type and additional quirks. Whilst the simple game design brings you in, its the level variety that keeps you playing. There are only four characters in the game and they all play identically, which feels like a missed opportunity for strategy but it is a good equaliser.
My only gripe with Volley Pals came from some issues with my initial PC install. I had to follow a workaround to get the game working but after that its been bug free and plenty of fun. For a cheap price, this is a game you can slot into your local multiplayer rotation safe in the knowledge you can have some competitive laughs. Do first to 5 wins across the different levels and I promise you’ll enjoy yourself. Good old fashioned arcade fun, done right.
Higher Plain Games is part of the Higher Plain Network. If you like what I do, please consider supporting me via Patreon for as little as $1/£1 a month. There are additional perks for supporting me, such as behind-the-scenes content and downloads. You can also share the website or use the affiliate buy now links on reviews. Buying credit from CD Keys using my affiliate link means I get a couple of pence per sale. All your support will enable me to produce better content, more often. Thank you.