Overall Score 82%
3D Balls Up
As a prequel to the roll-a-ball game, 3D Stress Ball, I was expecting something similar but I'm delighted to say that 3D Balls Up is a better looking version of the classic game Thrust.
A small space ship is trapped in a twisty series of caves. Gravity applies to all bodies, and using rotate and thrust controls the objective is to reach the exit. Sometimes the exit needs opening and this involves dragging a heavy ball and placing it in a container of the same colour.
When picked up, the ball is connected to your ship by a rubbery chain and a strong element of skill in the game is not allowing the inertia of the ball to pull your tiny ship into the rock walls.
The game is played in a large window by default. A flickery full screen option can be selected, as well as an option to reduce detail for lower powered computers. You can also elect to play the levels upside down with inverted gravity if you want.
The fine bitmapped graphics are created to a high standard. On early levels, the key controls appear on screen when needed, and large orange arrows guide you towards the exit which really makes the game very easy to understand. The small, dark graphics and lack of presentation on the front end definitely makes this game look like a small PC game instead of anything that could appear on a console. There are few particle effects beyond the dotty engine flames. Sound is sparse but adequate, there is no music.
The feel of the controls is just about right. The elastic rope to the ball doesn't seem to play as well as the rock solid bar that Thrust used, but on the whole my game play experiences were all good with this game. Large moving obstacles, and barriers that require balls to be moved in specific order all add to the game experience.
I preferred this game to 3D Stress Ball. The 3D Balls Up web page seems to be difficult to access, and the unfortunate name might also be acting against the game which is a shame. Games like Thrust are quite rare in indepedent games, despite the unique and addictive gameplay, and 3D Balls Up has more levels than that game, more features and a very similar feel to the gameplay. The lack of presentation, and the fact that it works best in a window probably damages the appeal of the game but the crucial gameplay is present.
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