Overall Score 64%
3D Stress Ball
The anticipation as the modem flickers... 2 minutes and 43 seconds left... 44... hang on the time is going up! This game is so cool it reverses time.
3D Stress Ball is one of those rolling ball games, a number of which are appearing around now. The concept is simple and fun. With the mouse, tilt the whole level to make a ball roll around, just like those plastic games with the little silver balls. 3D Stress Ball is more refined however, the aim is to grab all of the silver coins and head for the glowing tower exit at the end of the level.
By clicking you can make the reflective ball jump, and there are special things on the map too, like magnets and pushing tiles. The game is 3D, you have high and low platforms and moving obstacles too. Sometimes it's like being the ball in a game of crazy golf.
Vital in such a game is collision detection and in this game it's perfect. The walkways (or rather rollways) have angled sides and the ball rolls off the edges and bangs into things exactly as one would expect. The treacle-slow speed seemed to kill the action at first but rolling along some of these levels I quickly realised that slow is good.
The game is backed by both some occasionally annoying music, and some frankly odd scenery that can range from something like a holiday resort to a bright orange screen. The backdrops look a little strange and out of place in such a puzzle game. Sometimes 'snow' or something like it, white blobs, appear all over the level as part of the background. This looks pretty cool actually, but doesn't bear any relation to the game or the backdrop.
The graphics engine is clearly accomplished, the whole of the floor shines and reflects, in fact everything is reflective to some extent and you get shadows too.
The game plays in a window and being mouse controlled, it is all too easy to move the pointer right outside of the window and instantly lose control, nasty. Fortunately you have infinite lives to play with and, what is more, you get an 'edit this level' button and the option to design and save new levels. The level editor is really easy to use too.
At the moment the game is not yet complete and as such is free for anyone to try. Playing 3D Stress Ball is all about a steady hand and patience, it's not very different from Super Monkeys Balls 2 currently doing the rounds on Gamecube. Ironically enough, if you like those little plastic games with the little silver balls, you'll like 3D Stress Ball even better.
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