Excerpt: The Ball kicks off with one of those scenarios that only ever happens in a video game. The year is 1940, and you're on an archaeological dig halfway up the side of a Mexican volcano. You trip over the shoelaces on your explorer boots, take a 40ft tumble, and suddenly find yourself at the bottom of a deep cavern. Your buddy shouts down to you and explains that it'll take a good day or two to fetch a winch to get you out of there.
Excerpt: Shortly after the Unreal Development Kit was released to the public for free, The Ball brushed fame as a finalist in the Make Something Unreal contest. The competition and ensuing award had significance, because it showed what could happen when some of the barriers between gamer and developer were removed. Unfortunately, The Ball also shows just how beneficial it can be to have an experienced game designer at the helm. Mexico. 1940.
Excerpt: The Ball, developed by Teotl Studios, was originally created as a mod for Unreal Tournament 3 that later became a winner in Epic Games' Make Something Unreal contest at the 2010 D.I.C.E. (Design, Innovate, Communicate, Entertain) Summit. Since then, the developer had managed to convert the mod from a 40-minute technical demo into an 8-hour full-fledged game, offering up a hefty dose of unique physics based puzzles.
Excerpt: First-Person Shooters used to always have puzzle sections, whether it be finding the Red Key for the Red Door or some physics based puzzles to create a ramp to continue onto the next area. What Teotl Studios have done is taken this concept and applied it to the main draw of the game. The Ball is a puzzler centered around a Giant Ball and some ancient ruins found deep underground during a mining operation in the 1940s.
Conclusion: Outside of the pacing issues, The Ball is a very good-looking game, especially at its price point. You get to travel through a handful of unique and highly detailed environments, and the shininess of Unreal Engine 3 is on full display throughout. The luminescent water is particularly striking. But really, The Ball is all about the ball. I love my ball, but The Ball has some issues.
Pros: Innovative and fun core mechanic. Pretty graphics.
Cons: Takes too long to really get started. Disconnect between puzzle solving and combat.
Summary: Starting out as a mod for the Unreal engine, The Ball has developed into a full game with physics-based puzzles, angry mummies, and one giant ball. Players navigate their way through a series of dark tunnels and abandoned underground cities to discover the source of power behind the ball.
Pros: Very clever and unique puzzle game, Creative environments, Easy to pick up and play mechanics
Cons: Poorly implemented platforming, Games doesn't really get going until halfway through, Could have pushed the idea further
Excerpt: 2010's been a good year for indie developers. Indie games have been doing an impressive job holding their own against the big budget titles and have given us some truly provocative gaming experiences.
Excerpt: 2010's been a good year for indie developers. Indie games have been doing an impressive job holding their own against the big budget titles and have given us some truly provocative gaming experiences. Hoping to join the ranks of those successful indie offerings, Swedish developer Teotl Studios gives us its unique action puzzler, The Ball . The result?