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Industrial Ball

Published by Swargo Studio
Price $19.95
Primary Genre Secondary Genre

It has been said that there are only so many ideas in the world, and everything new is based on those ideas. Certainly this seems true of pop music - how many more soulless ballads and remakes are these manufactured pop bands going to trot out? - and Hollywood isn't any better, with the big films of the summer being remakes, remakes and comic book superheroes.

The title screen, with a remarkably small mouse cursor. A typical level.

Some might think the same is true of computer games. Now and again there's a groundbreaking new game that has a new concept, but these are few and far between. Everything else is either a remake of a game or a combination of elements from several games. But this is no place for a soap box - I've covered this ground before in an article about original ideas.

Thus, Industrial Ball, which scores very low in the originality stakes. This is Arkanoid. Breakout. It's a Bat And Ball game, in which the objective is to smash all the bricks in a wall by bouncing a ball into them off your bat. As per usual there's a range of pickups, good and bad, that can affect your game. I doubt there's much else to say.

This gobstopper is a Mega-Ball. It's big but otherwise the same as any other. These 'on fire' bricks can chain react, which is a great time saver.

Graphics are the major way in which IB tries to differ. A range of industrialesque backdrops are chosen at random for each level. The 'wall' is made up of steel bricks, which seem rather easy to smash apart for steel, but let's not dwell. Some bricks have special features - one type needs to be hit three times, one type explodes shortly after being hit and occasionally chain react. However most of the different bricks just look pretty (some even animate!)... but they do nothing special, which is a shame.

The lack of depth is echoed (not literally) by the sound - there's a single repeating backing track to the demo that starts off uninspiring and grows tedious fast. You can turn it off, fortunately, and curiously the full version I was provided with has no music at all (a reward for purchase?). Sound effects are servicable but unmemorable - various clangs and bangs fitting the metallic theme.

So the graphics are mediocre and the sound sub-par. How about the gameplay? Still no joy here, I'm afraid. In my first game I got to level six or seven before I quit - and this took me at least half an hour. This game is SLOW. If you find any "speed up" bonuses (a negative pickup, I believe) I suggest you take them. The number of bricks and the difficulty in aiming the ball make each level a rather protracted affair. The "fireball" pickup is a great help, ripping through bricks like they were tinfoil. Mistakes aren't too problematic as extra life pickups are reasonably common (and you have plenty of time to grab them). Things are not improved by the way the mouse-controlled bat tends to stick at the edges of the screen. Ironically pickups activate and blocks occasionally explode at random. I'm not sure if this is deliberate or not.

I really can't see this game holding anyone's attention for long. The graphics and sound stay unchanged throughout, which is bad, but the levels don't change either, which is worse. Each level is a slightly different pattern but the difficulty is about constant, so instead of becoming more challenging it... just keeps going. A disappointing remake of a tired old game.

Graphics 55%
Sound 20%
Playability 55%
Longevity 25%
Overall Score 42%
No Award

Published on 23 Sep 2005
Reviewed by Andrew Williams

Keywords: industrial ball review, swargo studio reviews, swargo studio games, industrial ball scores, pc game reviews, indie game reviews, independent gaming.