Review By: dapsycho | Posted: 27/05/2000
The Final Word
One of the best puzzlers I have ever played.
Everyone loves a good puzzle game, some can be very addictive and you can spend days on end trying to beat a level just because you need to. Unlike many other types of games, puzzle games usually come in a 2D flavour, there may be a 3D element in there somewhere, but its not used fully as in games such as Unreal Tournament.
Balls, Balls and More Balls is what this game is all about. Take your standard 'Bust a Move' and 'Columns' type game and give it a twist, in more ways than one.
The whole point of this game is to get rid of a load of coloured balls in a row that are spiralling towards you, in the centre. Using your little 'ball cannon' in the centre of the spiral you fire out coloured balls and have to match up 3 or more balls of the same colour to make them explode and disappear, using this method you can clear the screen and advance to the next level.
While this may sound pretty easy, I can tell you that it is not. While the learning curve is as shallow as you can expect, when you do get into the fray, the fray starts to bite back, with a vengeance. Extra difficulties such as 2 lines of balls approaching you in the centre, tornado's that bounce the balls you fire away from the lines start to mess it all up and the added difficulty of the lines starting right near the centre dont help you at all.
One last thing about the difficulty this that when you do fire a ball at the line and the colours do not match up to allow them to disappear, the line will split up and allow the ball to join the line at the point you fired it. This will of course make the line longer and the level even harder!
Like any game such as this, there is the possibility of doing a combination, where due to the removal of 1 coloured set another set will disappear, then another and so on until no more sets can be removed. This does not take much skill but if you time it right ands place your balls right, you can in effect clear the level very quickly with minimum of fuss.
The game does provide you with a few ways of making it easier. First you get a warning signal when the line is getting too close to the centre. Secondly, say you only have to clear 1 coloured set of balls but you have to fire off a different coloured ball altogether? then, just fire that ball into empty space and it will fly off the screen and not affect the incoming line at all, allowing you to fire off the correct coloured ball to complete the level.
The game comes in 3 different flavours, you can play in panic mode, which means you start of with a short line and have to keep going as long as possible until the line reaches the end of the spiral. Then you have stage mode which means you have to complete the game in stages that get increasingly difficult, this stage also wields bonuses when you complete a level on the number of combinations you do and the time you do it in. Lastly you have Multiplayer Mode which allows you to play against a mate, 1 on 1, to the death :]
Generally the graphics are great they move smoothly, theres no 3D effects but as a 2Dpuzzler it needs none. The colours are easily distinguishable and the effects it uses, like when you die the remaining balls turn grey then blow up or when you make a chain the balls blow up, are pretty good. Sounds are done well with effects and sounds in good time, beings a puzzle game you must expect the odd boing or bleep sound and yes, the effects are all there. Music's kinda cool too!
The game is pretty hard to describe, you really need to check out the screenshots as you finish reading the review or to read it again to understand fully. It does however appeal to many different people and I expect it will do well.