game review gaming playstation 3 playstation network

Game Review – Magic Ball (PS3)

magicball_logoMagic Ball is a retro throwback to Breakout and has been on the PlayStation Network for a while now. With its latest DLC it’s expanded into a great little game that you can easily pop in and play for a bit whilst cooling down from other games.

The Premise

Following the route of breakout and its many clones, you are a bat at the bottom of the screen. In front of you lie not blocks like the 80’s and 90’s versions but whole 3D vistas for you to bounce your ball at and destroy. There’s no plot, its just the game itself and your quest for a damn high score that’s at stake here.

The Gameplay

Magic Ball, like all puzzle type games is simple. Bat the ball and destroy everything in sight. You’ll be moving your bat left and right to stop the ball falling out the game zone as if it does you lose a life. Lose them all and its game over! The playing arena’s for destruction come in two themes(Pirates and Knights), each with 24 levels a piece. The difficulty ramps up very slowly at first and towards the end becomes quite challenging. Recently a Witches pack has been added with another 24 levels which is like the expert mode of the game and you should go for that after completing the previous two sets.

Batting the ball isn’t all that goes on. Randomly scattered in each level are power ups that cam help or hinder your progress. Some add weapons to your bat like laser beams and cannon balls, others make your bat bigger or smaller and others effect the size or type of ball you’ll have. There’s also some nifty weather effects like the hurricane and earthquake that can topple your playing field and change the level dramatically.

What’s great about the game is that physics are spot on. Very rarely will you lose a life and think it was unfair. The ball is predictable but still requires thought and skill in where your going to bat it to.

magicball_screenshotThe Graphics

Magic Ball’s graphics are bold and colourful and that’s exactly the best way to do a game like this. It has a sense of humour in its art work that gives the game charm. The changes from night to day are handled nicely too.

The Sound

Magic Ball has some very catchy music. The pirate themes in particular get stuck in your head for a long time. It’s great to have download games that have original music to them and I salute TikiGames and Creat Studios for doing so.

The Replay Factor

Magic Ball does have that one more go factor that all puzzle type games need to succeed. There is a co-op 2 player mode which works well with a friend (and makes the whole game a lot easier and about racking up points instead of survival) locally however the online option doesn’t usually have players on and I’ve never been able to play with anyone to try it. The game has plenty of trophies including a gold but some of the silvers and bronzes seem to be the wrong way around as the bronzes are at times much more time consuming than the silvers which are all about destroying a level in a certain order to leave something remaining until last.  Also judging by the level menu layout I’d expect more DLC packs coming later this year too.

The Positives

~Classic old skool gameplay improved for new generation

~Genuinely good clean fun

~High score seekers will spent a lot of time getting the 2,000,000 point trophy

The Negatives

~Could be too repetitive for some to persevere

The Verdict

Magic Ball hits all the right buttons for a classic game of bat and ball. There is nothing lacking or missing and what it does it does perfectly. While it may not be to everyone’s taste it deserves recognition for showing exactly how you should update a classic by keeping exactly what everyone knows and loves and adding some bells and whistles to it.

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