Quickie Reviews is a super quick run down of a game I don’t have time to dedicate a full review to. That doesn’t mean I won’t come back to it later and drop a full ramble. Basically, if you want a review but don’t want to read 20 paragraphs, then these are for you!
Toasty aficionados will be aware that Puzzle Games are not my jam. At all. I can count the number of puzzlers that have actually captured my attention fully on one finger. So when a dedicated 2D puzzle platformer landed on my lap, I gotta admit, I was very hesitant to conjure up the required literacy. Despite my fear and vacillation, I have a noble duty to uphold. So, for the betterment of mankind, let’s look at Wreckin’ Ball Adventure.
As the title would imply, you control a ball. Not just any ball though. You are a ball with a single, iridescent eye. Your goal is to reach the end zone as quickly as possible, whilst nabbing quirky stars and kooky orbs along the way. As a sentient robo-eye, physics play quite the role when determining how you interact with the environment and overcome its obstacles. Want to bound over something? get your squint on, and gather some momentum. Want to move faster? violently toss yourself down a hill. It’s all very intuitive, which is a key factor in a game all about playing with the laws of the universe.
As you roll through the games 60 or so levels, your lil’ ball will be powered up with various enhancements. From bouncy tire treads, to zippy grappling hooks, Wreckin’ Ball has you covered. These little alterations attempt keep the games mechanics from getting too stale, too quickly and are quite fun to experiment with. I mean, who hasn’t fantasised about being a spherical Spiderman?
Unfortunately Wreckin’ Ball has some pretty significant holes in its design. Most notably the level design, which is just not that interesting. For a game with only 60 levels, it felt like it massively overstayed its welcome. This is made infinitly worse by a surpising number of naff “filler” stages. This is exacerbated by a visual style that is both bland, repetitive and directly ripped from Valve’s Portal. Whereas its inspiration managed to flood its white walls with charm and personality, Wreckin’ Ball feels cold, bare and drudging.
Not content with swiping Portal’s visuals, Wreckin’ Ball goes as far as having a cocky, condescending AI akin to GLaDOS. Of course, this imitation falls flat, pancaking on the nearest sidewalk. This is due to a complete lack of voice acting – relying instead on text. Large, obnoxious, grammatically incorrect and incompetently localised text. Topping all of that off is the audio. An irritating, seemingly endless jingle, that will rattle even the staunchest of gamer.
Just to hammer an extra nail in Wreckin’ Ball’s already sealed coffin, is the physics. Sure, they are intuitive, but everything just feels janky. At no point in my pilgrimage through its drab halls did I feel completely in control. Everything is so floaty and imprecise that I found myself just colliding with practically everything on screen. Sure the grappling hook is fun, but it too is plagued by bonkers physics.
If you have friends, unlike me, you can subject them to the banal, tedious world of Wreckin’ ball. You can even bring three along for the ride with four player local co-op. This naturally turns a vapid experience into one that somewhat resembles entertainment. This may vary based on the company you keep, and choose to torture. It is a welcome addition. Regardless, I did not find myself jumping at the opportunity to spend any more time than I had to with this game.
Overall Wreckin’ Ball is an uninspiring, uninteresting, unstimulating and unpolished lesson in mediocrity. Sure there are some cool upgrades, but when everything surrounding them is tedium incarnate, with a sprinkle of broken english, I can’t recommend you invest your life into this. Sure, Puzzle Games aren’t my cup of tea, but this was on a whole new level of ‘meh’.
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