2010 Reviews

The Ball

  • Review Date: 2014-07
  • Release Date: 2010-10
  • Developer: Teotl Studios
  • Rating: 6.5

Just a short review for The Ball, because it's a short indie game. Originally starting out as a mod using Unreal 3.0, it ended up being turned into a full commercial game.

Unfortunately I left the game with a sour taste in my mouth - basically rage-quitting. The bird sequence at the end of the 6th (of 8) levels I re-tried about 10 times and just couldn't do it. It was that it wasn't too difficult. It was that I completed the towers in the reverse order. So instead of having a mad dash from tower 3 to the finish while a bird drops explosive eggs on you from above, my dash was a far more distant tower 1 to the finish. Because that's where the checkpoint dumps me. Partitially it's my fault for not doing the first tower puzzle first. But the game shouldn't have let me complete them out of fucking order. So I never completed the last two levels. After retrying the bird several times I just couldn't put myself through it any longer. What a fucking annoying instant death puzzle with horrible vehicle controls. It ruined the entire game for me.

Honestly, up till that point I was pretty much over it anyway. The puzzles hadn't change all that much since the first level, and I was getting fairly bored and just waiting for it to finish already. At that point I'd probably been playing for about four hours.

The Ball doesn't have any story or cinematics. There are no characters. It's just one puzzle after another. The puzzles are fun, and up till that point none of them were particularly difficult either. But perhaps the game does go on a little too long. Then again, I think the same about most puzzle-adventure games.

The design is definitely standout performance. Most of the game is built into underground caverns with aztech'ish temples and ruins. It looks really quite good. Great textures, great lighting. One could argue that it never really changes that style, but that's not major.

So overall The Ball is a bit of a one-trick pony. It's just several long levels of puzzles without a lot of charm to it. It does look nice, the puzzles are creative, but it didn't grab me enough to even finish the game.

The Ball