If there’s one thing that is popular the most in the world, it’s ball games. It doesn’t matter if you like soccer, basketball or baseball, it always includes at least one ball, like the game of the week. It’s simply called “The Ball” and you may see this game as a copycat of Valve’s “Portal” but it’s definately not. Manipulation of objects using physics is one aspect of the game, but additionally do you also have to fight in this game, which is not part of “Portal”, except the automated guns that stand around. So, what are you actually doing in this game? Well, you push a giant, giant ball in front of you through levels that look like forgotten Inca or Maya places. You don’t push it just by using your bare hands, you’ve got a gun like tool, pretty similiar to the one you got in “Portal”, where you can push, or hit, the ball and you can “suck” the ball towards you from a distant area. Just imagine you play “Portal” and you also have to carry a 5 feet tall ball with you everywhere you go, this is pretty much how “The Ball” actually works.
There’s also a kind of Tomb Raider feeling when it comes to explore the ancient underground world. You have to solve riddles with levers, ropes and weights by using your ball and your, let us say, gravity gun. The only thing that you can’t do in this game is to build portals, but you can fight enemies with your giant ball instead. There are no shooting guns in this game, so you have to use your ball and simply roll it over your enemies. Like many games in FPS style, this one is easy to learn, but relatively hard to handle. Some riddles might take a few tries before they are finally solved, but this is just an issue at the beginning of the game, after making some ingame progress you become one with your ball. Does this sound ambiguous?
“The Ball” uses the Unreal III engine, looks very beautiful and well designed and due to the game engine does it take advantage of a Nvidia powered rigs, because PhysX rocks. I recommend this game to everyone who loved to play “Portal”, who likes balls (ya, this is oviously ambiguous ^^ ) and to those who like to play with physics in games. It’s also a recommendation for those who loved the Tomb Raider-series and just want to try out some new ways of how to be an archeologist.