Game Review: Space Balls
Release: August 2, 2010
Genre: Physics Puzzler
Developer: Sauce Digital
Available Platforms: iPhone
ESRB Rating: N/A (9+ for Infrequent/Mild Cartoon or Fantasy Violence)
Space Balls is an equal-part physics and puzzle game. You must make your way through three galaxies and 90 levels to reclaim your stolen Ultramegasphere! You have 16 Space Ball characters at your disposal, each with their own unique properties.
You begin your campaign in the Triangulon galaxy on planet Vod. You start with the bread and butter of all space balls, the Force Field. You must manipulate your launcher to bank the Force Field off nearby asteroids to capture the target outlined in green. While the launcher stays at the bottom of the screen, it moves side to side and tilts to offer a variety of shooting angles.
As you progress, more Space Balls become available to you, each aptly named: Norm, Big, Heavy, Tiny, Bomb, etc. While not ambitiously creative, the naming lends itself to the overall simplicity of the game. Clear the level in a short amount of time and receive a three star rating!
When I say “simplicity,” I only mean the underlying concept of the game: select a Space Ball, clear an obstacle, and capture the target. This game is HARD. I marched through the first 13 levels with ease and thought I was going to roll over this game. Level 14 came along and served me a warm slice of humble pie.
The subtleties of the game really show on this level and all levels from this point on. You can’t just fire a Space Ball at max speed and blow everything away to capture the target; you have to select the proper Space Ball for the job, carefully line up your shot, and use the ideal amount of launching power.
As a writer, I’m a stickler for grammar mistakes. When the Norm description reads, “Things can bounce of it,” I cringe a little bit. I am of the school that thinks a final product should be polished to perfection.
I hate to say this, but this game might be a little too hard for an iPhone app. These games are often played five or ten minutes at a time while you are on a break or waiting for someone. If a level requires a multistep strategy, it is hard to make headway then remember what you did several hours later.
On the other hand, this game will put your critical thinking abilities to the test. You will not just download the game, beat it, and feel cheated. If you want a game that you will squeeze every cent out of, Space Balls is the one for you.