The Ball Author: T_H_Schafer -- Posted: 2010-11-07
The ball starts out pretty bluntly. You're an archaeologist working in Mexico and you fall down a shaft. It just so happens that this particular shaft leads to some pretty incredible ancient ruins and your hombres are gonna be a while before they can get enough rope together to hoist you out of your predicament. So you do what any other like minded archaeologist would do, YOU EXPLORE!
First things first, The Ball is pretty. It is shiny, it has some pretty wicked looking skulls on it, it is gold encrusted and even has some killer lights which change color depending on how you're handling it at any given moment. The rest of the game didn't impress me at first visually but there are some fairly epic set pieces where the environment opens up unveiling a couple gorgeous vistas.
The game handles nicely but the act of combat in the game comes off as clunky. You control The Ball with (what else) an ape-skull-head magnet-hammer-gun that lets you pull the ball toward you and shoot it out when it's close enough. Everything is smooth and I feel like I learned how to wield the Ball well enough but I never felt very satisfied in my mummy crushing techniques. Mostly I just ran around in circles rolling the ball just ahead of me or did a kind of yo-yo maneuver with my back against the wall.
The boss fights didn't fare much better. I don't want to spoil them, but they all rely on a principle of avoidance while somehow utilizing the environment or supercharging your ball to actually inflict damage. Once again, even though I realized how to accomplish my task, the real difficulty was coming from the chunkiness and not the challenge actually imposed by the bosses themselves.
The puzzles in the game start off pretty slow. At about two hours in I still felt like I was playing through an extended tutorial. The nature of rolling a ball around to solve puzzles felt pretty clear but I felt the developers were easing me into the experience for far too long. When the game itself clocks in at a little over five hours that's a problem.
I don't want to harp on the game too much. It does have its charms, I did have some fun with it, but in the end I felt a touch disappointed. There are some really cool moments in there and some interesting puzzles though. Even with the included arena matches where you fight waves of enemies there wasn't enough content here for me. It does happen to be a budget title, but the price of admission might still be too high for this one.