May 17, 2011
Sometimes, we tend to over-complicate things. It’s easy to do, especially when it comes to app design â€“ throw in a new feature here, develop a revolutionary control system there. More often than not though, simplicity is the best method, which is one of the reasons that BallBall works so damn well.
BallBall, developed by Whatwhat Studio, is essentially a backwards, single player version of Pong. Sort of. The screen is split in two by a divider; on one side there are orange bouncing balls, on the other, green bouncing balls. The divider has a gap in it, which can be slid up and down and that’s the only control you have over the game. Your task â€“ moving the balls to the opposite sides they start on. Simple.
Except, in practice, it’s not. The game starts off at a gentle stroll, with one or two balls on either side and hair pulling and screams of frustration at a bare minimum. As things progress, and more and more balls are dropped into the equation, the game becomes an exercise in split second reactions and spectacular, user generated, swear words.
There are two modes offered, although there’s not much difference between them at first glance â€“ in normal, the balls pass through one another and in collision they, well, collide. The difference becomes clear in later levels, when ricochets and chain reactions will have you sliding your divider like a demon.
The game’s not perfect, of course â€“ there seem to be some crashing and updating issues that could do with sorting out and the basic art and design aren’t going to be to everyone’s taste, and there doesn’t seem to be any sound in the game, but these are minor quibbles at worst.
Whatwhat have shown how, for all the punch your phone packs, all a game has to do to capture your attention is be eminently playable. Ballball is a master class in designing mobile games â€“ simple, effective and hugely addictive. This is a must have.