Sunday, 13 July 2014

The Ball: Game Design Review

The Ball was originally a mod for Unreal which was eventually turned into a full proper game. Its an action puzzle game where you control a giant Ball and use it to solve puzzles as well as crush enemies. The Ball is fairly well polished, is mechanically sound and has a great atmosphere. However there are certain things that irk me about the game.

What I disliked:
Mine cart sequences- Every now and then there will be a long mine cart sequence for over 30+ seconds just waiting around for you to get to a different location. There is no interactivity with it so it's pretty much just a theme park ride. While other games might use this opportunity to get you familiar with a new environment or tell a story nothing actually happens during these rides except occasionally enemies will pop up growl at you. Not sure why these even exist.

Instant death platforming- Platforms are difficult in a first person perspective and there are a good number of puzzles which require jumping in this game. Some of them leading to instant death which is frustrating. Puzzles like that don't often happen but when they do, they are quite noticeable.

Levels are kind of long- Being a puzzle, the level were kind of long and alot of the game centres around walking around the levels to the next puzzle. It's okay but I miss the more compact rooms of Portal and other puzzle games. Especially when you accidentally knock the Ball off and have to try again.

Boss battles are kind of boring- A lot of boss battles don't take advantage of the Ball. For example, there's a worm boss where you have to step on plates around the room to activate the solution. You don't even take the Ball into the battle as it is blocked at the entranced of the room. I can't think of single memorable battle.

Vehicle is useless- Near the end of the game, you find a vehicle you can stick the Ball to. What does this cool vehicle do? It just allows you to travel faster. That's it. I was hoping that you might have used it as a catapult or something but no, the Ball just acts as a third wheel.

Puzzles- For me the puzzles were a bit hit and miss. Some were okay and others were a bit boring.

I'm not the kind of gamer that enjoys puzzle games, I prefer action games and RPGs so I'm not the core audience for this game. For me the Ball was an average experience at best and full of untapped potential. I don't really enjoy playing puzzle games so you might like it if you're that sort of gamer.

No comments:

Post a Comment