Polyball is a simplistic, minimalistic game. It’s most outstanding feature is how it looks and feels. In regards to gameplay, it is average at best. The environments are well rounded and thought-through, in combination with the soundtrack it triggers a warm feeling of comfort. A subtle bass, warm and saturated colours, “low poly” art style … upon entering the first level you just can’t help but think: “It’s nice here, I want to stay”.
The whole world fits together very well. You – a little ball – right in the center of your screen, and off you roll to collect little pieces of shiny something that splatter all over the place when you hit them and later on can be spent on customizations of the main character – the ball.
The gameplay is nothing special and actually has some very disturbing and frustrating flaws. Now, I like hard games and I also do like a challenge, but at some points this game is ridiculously hard. I promise you that you will be stuck for at least an hour at some points in the game and it will drive you crazy. If however, you miss the feeling of being challenged in today’s world of easy-peasy video games and the last time you felt challenged was when you were playing Mega Man 2 on the NES, then this won’t bother you at all.
What will bother you though is the untamable camera, the cause of most bugs and most deaths in this game (I’m assuming). Aiming the camera in the direction you want it aimed at, is as hard as trying to hit the urinal when you’re hammered. Usually you would think that you can play a game whose only controls are the WASD keys and the spacebar (for jumping) one handedly while sipping on a hot cup of cacao, but this game needlessly requires you to steer a poorly responsive camera with your mouse and it will drive you insane.
With 44 levels, about 22 in planning and some bonus levels, the game comes at a good volume for an indie project. There is also an advertised multiplayer mode that I can’t judge, since it went from not working to completely empty servers seamlessly, so don’t count on having fun multiplayer downhill races with your polyball when purchasing this game.
As mentioned at the start, the whole project looks amazing. It has an honest and fantastic “feel good vibe” and is – hands down – just beautiful to look at. For a game that will cost you € 15 however, this is just too little, if I want to look at pretty things there are much cheaper alternatives.
This game lacks innovation. A ball is being steered through maps, that’s it, literally. Have you ever tried making a game in Unity3D? Did you ever succeed to make a cube that can be moved with WASD? Well, if I was to be cynical I would tell you that you have already done half the work in making your very own polyball game. Just create some levels, a menu and a user interface and you’re good to go (don’t forget Steam achievements and trading cards).
Simply put, if they release polyball for 2,99 on mobile devices, you should definitely go for it. If you have the money and you want to enhance your Steam library with a totally hipster indie game title, go for it. If you are looking for a game that is fun and confronts you with new and creative game mechanics, you should tweet me, there are better alternatives.
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