Based on the Unreal Tournament 3 mod Teotl Studio’s highly enjoyable title The Ball has to be one of the most compelling and addictive games released this year.
In what we can only describe as Indiana Jones meets Portal, with zombies, mummies and monkeys thrown in for good measure, Iceberg Interactive have thrown their considerable talent and weight behind independent game developer Teotl Studio’s and come up with a true gem of a title that will see gamers coming back for more time and again.
Anyone who is a fan of action adventure games, puzzlers, platformers and first person shooters will absolutely love playing The Ball. It has come a long way since it was introduced to the gaming world ass an Unreal Tournament 3 mod, and thanks to some ingenious innovation from the developers it is looking all the better for the time spent on improving and tweaking the game into a title in its own right.
The gameplay see’s the player introduced into the game via the short tutorial as you get the hang of the basic’s which involve you learning to manipulate the ball of the title into area’s and positions so that you may best proceed around the zones. Being that this game is definitely a physic’s based title there was always the chance that this could have turned out to be a flop of massive proportions. But thanks to the ingenuity of the men and women behind the scenes at Teotl Studio’s we discovered no such problem’s as we sped through the game in a little under eight hours. Don’t get me wrong it could be that the game may well take others considerably longer to master, however in the course of getting this review published and the sheer addictive nature of the gameplay contained within the title, we found ourselves compelled to attempt to finish the entire title in one playthrough.
The premise of the game is that you are charged with exploring eight action packed levels that are truly gargantuan in the size, whilst using the awesome ancient power of the strange and mysterious ‘ball‘ to assist you in climbing, and traversing your lush environments whilst also utilising the globe as a weapon as you put it to good use killing enemies.
There are two cracking modes that will keep you entertained until the cow’s come home as you struggle with the games main single player campaign, or attempt the tough-as-nails ‘Survival Mode’ where players strive to stay alive against nine levels of constantly attacking enemies while using everything from mines, explosives, trap’s and saw’s to the ball itself in a bid to defend themselves.
The graphic’s in the game are impressive to the point of stunning as you are treated to one visual masterpiece after another whilst making your way through the dangerous environments and zones. The attention to detail from the games developers is apparent in every aspect of the game, not just in the way the game looks, but in particular with the way that they have made the game respond to the controls. As is expected in any game that has physics at the core of its gameplay, there is, inevitably, always some kind of a problem sooner or later, but we are pleased to be able to tell you that this is not the case with The Ball as the game run’s perfectly and there is never a time that the mechanic’s let you down as you move from one head-scratcher to the next.
The games’ learning curve is as smooth as the games graphics as you are introduced to the rigours of The Ball rather gently at first and then are gradually brought to task by the steadily increasingly more difficult puzzles and problems on your way to the path to success. There are, however, hints along the way for the more keen-eyed individuals amongst you. In later levels, when the puzzles may leave some gnashing teeth and pulling out their hair in frustration, all you have to do is look around on the wall’s of the room or area that you are in to discover a code written in ancient symbols. All you have to do now is decipher the language and you will be on your way to the next poser before you know it.
The boxed version of Teotl‘s cracking game hit’s UK stores on November 12th, 2010 and for those of you out there who fancy purchasing the boxed edition then Iceberg Interactive have got together with the games’ developers to offer you an added little incentive for making the decision to buy the disc instead of the digital version. Inside all of the version’s available from UK stores, as well as direct from the Iceberg Interactive store on their website, are limited edition postcard’s that have all been signed by the development team over at Teotl as well as a cracking bonus CD of the game’s soundtrack.
Graphics: Solid looking and very dependable renders make The Ball stand out from the crown in Teotl’s excellent foray into the action adventure puzzler genre. There are no issues with frame rates, as well as there being no glaring glitches or bug’s as the game runs as smooth as silk. 8
Gameplay: The real stand out point for The Ball has to be in the sheer addictive nature of the awesome gameplay contained therein. There really is little to nothing out there that quite has the draw of The Ball , with maybe the exception of Portal, but even then this is a title that stands on its own two feet and rightfully deserves to be heralded as a truly great game. 9
RePlay Value: Both modes in The Ball are equally compelling and will see players returning for another session time and time again as they seek to strive to better their time and score. The Survival Mode is a particular highlight and is still one of the most difficult modes we have played in any title all year. 9
Presentation: All in all Iceberg Interactive and Teotl Studio’s have a real diamond in the rough on their hand shere as The Ball takes the crown for what has to be the best value for money title on the market. A snip at a mere £19.99 of our Earth pounds, The Ball has everything that a more pricey title will offer you, but then not every title has the gameplay or the replay value of The Ball. 9