First off, I think they have one of the best logos we have seen so far. The sweet shaka gives off a fun, chill vibe. The branding for this game is: “Shaka Ball – Beach Game.” A perfect description in our opinion, because our first thoughts while playing were, “this would be the perfect beach game!” It’s a great, chill game that can be played throughout the day while hanging at the beach with friends or family.
- Time to set up or take down: Around 7-10 minutes. It’s fun to open up the Shaka Ball game as it launches into place. Though, Cassidy had a tough time wrapping it back into a tight little disk again when we were done playing. It was a game in of itself!
- Duration of game: One round seemed to last about 10 minutes for us.
- Number of players that are needed/can participate: up to 4 players at a time.
- Where it can be played? Grass and cement, but the sand would probably be best. We have a few upcoming beach days and we will definitely be breaking it out! Grass worked well, and cement would be okay, but you wouldn’t want to dive for anything. (And that’s half the fun!) On their website, they also feature a group playing in the snow. This would be SO fun as you dive through the powder to cover your quarter. We also suggest that wherever you play, try to pick a flat surface. Though, throughout the game you can rotate to give each player an equal opportunity if you can’t find the superb location.
- How to play? Each player is standing in their own area called a “slice” where you are trying to not let the ball land. Defend your area! To accomplish that, you must hit the ball with an upward trajectory towards another player’s area when the ball comes your way. When the ball lands in a player’s area, they then take on a point–called a “burn”. The person who last got a burn, is the one who serves the next set. As mentioned above, you can rotate quarters each time a player gets a burn in case the landscape makes it necessary, or the sun is in someone’s eyes.
Players also earn burns if they hit the ball, and it lands back in their own area or out of bounds without touching another player or their paddle. Lastly, if you are the last to touch the ball, and it lands in the shaka center, you just earned yourself two burns. The first player to 7 points is eliminated from the game. As each player is eliminated, their quarter becomes “out of bounds.” When just two are left, you will stand diagonally across from each other as you play. They also recommend “staring at each other for dramatic effect” which we fully endorse and participate in each time we play (you’ve got to have a great sense of humor in life, right?). The last person standing is the WINNER.
Backyard Buffs’ Rating: 17
Ease of storage/portability: 4. As mentioned above, Cassidy found it a bit difficult to put away (she’s practicing the snap and wrap), but it’s extremely easy to set up and carry around. (We immediately added to the Fun Trunk.) The bag is remarkably durable and quality for a cinch bag, and we especially loved the zippered pockets for the balls! We always worry about losing small balls, so it was a GREAT addition in the product design of Shaka Ball to include a space dedicated for them.
Durability (packaging or game pieces): 5. We were actually shocked at how nice the paddles are. They are great quality and solid! We were imagining something like a pretty light ping pong paddle before it arrived, but these things are made for outdoor play for SURE. They will be able to withstand some heavy wear before you would see any aging. As we just referred to above, the cinch bag as well is incredibly durable, and the border markers too will last for years.
Friendly for all Ages/Skill Levels: 3. Since the ball always has to be hit with an upward trajectory, we found that it made it relatively easy for most groups! The one limitation we found was that since the ball is small, some of our more reflex challenged friends had a hard time keeping track of the ball (poor chaps, they tried so hard). There are also many ways to add complexity for more competitive groups, but it’s still a great game that kids could hop in and play as well!
Fair Pricing: 5. The durability and materials that go into Shaka Ball justify the price. Not only are the paddles awesome, but the Shaka Center, and boundary lines are all made of quality materials as we have mentioned multiple times above. This will be a game that lasts through many beach days, and is fun to have at any event. Currently priced at $55.00 on Amazon, if you want to upgrade to $67.00 you can also get a fun Shaka Ball beach towel to take along with you on your beach day outings!
Conclusion: If you like 4 square, and ping pong or pickleball, this game is a great option for you. If you like to spike or slam balls down, then Shaka ball probably isn’t for you. It kind of marries the three (4-square, ping pong, and pickleball), and gives you a new, original game to play with family and friends. Shaka Ball is our kind of game for the beach or a fun summer picnic. Play while catching up with friends and laugh as players dive in the sand to protect their area. The ball is small and not overly bouncy, so it makes for some focus and hand eye coordination to keep the ball going. Whenever Shaka Ball comes out you know that you’re in for a good time.