Thursday 9 December 2010

Gaming Reviews

The Ball
Iceberg Interactive
Available Now - £16.99 (PC)
Review by Blake Harmer

Originally conceived as a mod for Unreal Tournament 3 and now turned into a full game, The Ball is a first-person physics puzzle game that has you guiding a giant ball around the environment solving puzzles to progress through Incan ruins and avoiding traps.

As far as first-person adventures go, this offers quite a nice change from the usual completing objectives and blasting everything that moves as it merely revolves around getting your giant ball from one place to another (with the physics based puzzles being quite clever at times). Considering the game is a budget title, there is some surprisingly good graphics, and you get a good package in the form of a fairly long campaign, achievements, and the boxed copy even comes with the soundtrack of the game. Whilst the soundtrack isn’t mind blowing, the fact you get all this for less than twenty quid is pretty good value for money.

So why not a perfect score? Well sadly, despite all the great value for money, the developers haven’t realised that less is more. Whilst the puzzle element of the game is fantastic and cannot really be flawed, the developers have included combat in the game in the form of undead Incans trying to stop you waltzing through their tombs and traps. This could be alleviated if there were the inclusion of weapons in the game, but sadly they have only left you with the device you use to bring the ball to you or to hammer it away which means you have to clumsily use the ball to roll it over the Incans as they run towards you, or use it as a shield when they throw fireballs at you. This element feels like it has been chucked in as an afterthought when it really wasn’t needed and, sadly, spoils the overall experience.

The Emotionally Fourteen Games Rating
Considering the fact it was originally a mod and it is a budget title, there are some nice visuals here.
Sound/Music: Some good sound effects and undead moans. The explosions feel a bit light though.
Gameplay: A Thoroughly enjoyable first person puzzler let down by shoddy combat.
Lasting Appeal: A fairly lengthy campaign mode with achievements should keep you interested for about 10 hours if you are a die hard completionist, don’t expect a thoroughly engaging plot though.
Summary: Considering a budget price, this is a well thought out puzzle game, with the poor combat stopping this being an essential budget purchase. However, for puzzle fiends wanting to pass some time until Portal 2, you can do a lot worse than this. 7/10

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