The Ball is predominantly a first-person physics puzzler, similar in spirit to Valve’s Portal, but with more mummies and exploding monkeys.
Developed by Teotl Studios, The Ball began life as an entry into the Intel “Make Something Unreal” contest, in which it won multiple honors. It was then picked up for publication by Tripwire Interactive, publishers of the popular game The Killing Floor. The game is currently set to release in October, and should feature roughly 6-8 hours of single-player gameplay, plus a variety of Survival levels.
Physics Puzzler with a hint of FPS
The Ball drops you into ancient Aztec ruins, where your primary task is to solve various puzzles using a gun-like device that controls a giant metal ball. The basic mechanics of the game are simple: Your ‘gun’ can attract the ball, drag it along, or ‘hammer’ it away, shooting it like a giant bowling ball.
You’ll frequently need to manipulate the ball to place it on top of pressure plates, bowl through a blockade, or hit a button across a room, for example. Maneuvering the ball and solving puzzles to clear obstacles are all part of the challenge.
Bowling for Monkeys and other fun stuff
The Ball presents you with other interesting ways to use your device and your ‘companion sphere’ as well. For example, you can attach the ball onto giant stone blocks and use it to push or pull them. (This is apparently how the Aztecs built their mighty structures, as opposed to the popular theory that they used trained dinosaurs to do it.)
Occasionally, mummy-like creatures will emerge to threaten you as well, which adds a little action to the game. Using your giant metal ball, you can block them, ward them off, or use the ‘repel’ ability to fire the ball into the mummies, splattering them into pieces. You can also use this ability to squash (for reasons unknown) harmless monkeys.
Unlike the mummies, who are actually dangerous, the monkeys wander around aimlessly, waiting to be squashed–and the number o monkeys you crush is actually tallied at the end of each level.
Innovative ball busting
While the basic mechanics of the game might sound limiting, The Ball presents plenty of interesting puzzles that require you to use the ball creatively. One puzzle, for example, requires you to roll the ball through a pool of oil, through a fire, and then to a fuse, igniting the fuse and blowing a blockade.
You can also manipulate other objects with the ball gun’s hammering ability. Some objects, such as a giant turnstile-like device or small stone blocks, for example, can be struck in order to activate or move them.
The Ball is scheduled to release sometime in October through digital distribution services and retail stores at an MSRP of $19.99.