Monday, 25 October 2010

The Ball Review

Here's a history lesson for all you people out there. "The Ball" started life as an Unreal Tournament 3 mod last year, it was nomonated for Best Art Direction and Best Single Player mod by MODDB in 2009, it won FIVE TIMES in the UT3 Make Something Unreal contest and was used to promote Epic Games' UDK. So as you could expect the team who made the original "The Ball" turned into an Indie Developer and started to make a full release of "The Ball". So this game has alot going for it now, not only are the fans of the mod looking for more content to dig there teeth into but to see if the concept of "The Ball" will work outside the Modding Scene. So here we go.

Story: Right...ummmm... there isn't one! OK there is one but it's not very good, you play an archeologist, who has a thing with Indiana Jones. He is digging in Mexico (probably looking for E.T. the game) when he goes down a hole, the crane breaks and you decide to explore (or you could throw down a rope and pull him back up...Just saying) when you find... the secret Apature Science Lab testing fercility!!! Anyway that's the basic story of "The Ball" there is another strory about an achent race of people but I didn't really find it intresting, the plot points where too spred out so I didn't really connect to that story till the very end. In all the story isn't very good at all, in fact it's almost non-exsistance.

Gameplay: The meat of the game... the gameplay. So here we go, the only weapon you have is a sort of gravity gun that can only control one thing...a ball. With your Ball you can throw it or call it, as you may think it's very ferminual however the puzzles used are unique and are not used from other games in any way. For example here's a puzzle; you must find a way to complete a puzzle to get a pole down to open a door, to do this you must fill the room with water to get to a diffrent floor and to get your ball to remove a pole to finish the puzzle, however when you fill up the room you ball will sink to the bottem meaning you can't remove the pole to finish the puzzle thus your puzzle is born. This may not be the best puzzle in the game but it is a good example of what you go through, there are also diffrent types of puzzles like helping your ball through a maze and finding ways to destroy enemies when your ball is across the room.

Talking of enemies, enemies can only be killed by your ball, you have to squeesh them this can give tention when you get to areas where your ball is taken away from you, however there is a big downside in the difficulty. As I said earlier about the puzzle with the water, yeah that's an easy puzzle, well not really it just felt easy like I did little to nothing to complete them. Like me give you another example you know that big monkey boss seen in the screenshots, it looks like a awesome boss however it's underwelming when fighting him because defeating him is SOO easy, the way you kill him is fireing big cannon balls at him, I won't spoil it any more but it's really easy. This is not just at the start of the game, oh no, I go through the whole game at the same diffaculty.

Another bad thing is that the puzzles have no reasoning and connection to what your doing, for example most the time the puzzles are just set up infront of a locked door and completeing them make no sense on how the puzzle makes the door open. Infact when I complete a puzzle I'm almost expecting a Zelda chime to start ringing.

All in all I'm reminded of Portal when playing this game, however Portal had two things that made it great; a great story and difficult puzzles, also I halt you now writing a hateful email telling me how wrong I am I would like to say that I'm actually recommending this game...just. You see there is just something addicting to the game that it just becomes...mytsic even thought the game is so easy it flows really well and though the story is disconnected and almost nonexistant, I don't really care. The game just has this kinda addiction to it making you want to see the next creative, however easy puzzle. I do recommend it to castle puzzle players however looking for something difficult or even challanging you'll be deeply dissapointed. I feel sorry for this game because it's being released so close to Portal 2 which will almost definantly over shadow "The Ball" what ever it does.

Liam Hackett

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