Review: The Ball

There is something to be said about having a relatable character avatar.  When a game opens up with the player character being stuck in an ancient—something—civilization pit of mystery and is told to go exploring while the rest of the team waits for a replacement winch instead of just figuring out how rope works, I kind of want the worst for this character.  When about half an hour later he encounters a message from the past basically warning the end of the world should anyone enter, and there is no option to simply wait things out, I love for the zombie/mummy/things to kill him.  Granted this adventure takes place in one of the most beautiful and interesting environments on the PC, too bad that my only driving force to progress is to find new and more interesting ways for this very bad Indiana Jones to die.

Did I mention that the game looks amazing?  I probably did, but seeing as how the plot isn’t going to be the thing that you talk to anyone about, unless to openly mock, it should probably be brought up a couple of times.  The Ball does one thing, and that one thing it does very well; it manages to show off just how powerful of a gaming computer it running on.  Considering that the game only requires the computer to be Direct X9 compatible most computers out there can at the very least run the game.

Most of the gameplay is based around some form of puzzle solving, although the twist that is thrown in this time is that the puzzles are normally solved through the use and manipulation of a giant ball that the player tosses around the room.  It isn’t that these actions are interesting, it is just that they are presented in such a way that they are best taken in chunks instead of attempting to beat the game in one long sitting.  There is combat, but that pretty much only is ever used to make the player feel entirely underpowered, which is good because I hate him.

Besides having one of the worst opening plots ever the game is reasonably priced, at 20 dollars, for being a visual masterpiece of a tech demo when compared to other games that used to serve that same niche need—Crysis. While it might be one of the few games that sit around on a Steam list without ever really being beaten, it is also probably the first thing that will be pulled out the moment a new video card or random PC upgrade is performed.  With that in mind it is hard not to recommend this game to anyone who is not serious about computer gaming, and would be a waste to not have in any well-established collection.

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