I have to be honest, I wasn’t expecting much from Simple Ball. It looks almost too simple for its own good, and I thought it would be just a poorer cousin of many other similar games that I have covered here at The Smartphone App Review.
Well, as it turns out, I was completely wrong, as Simple Ball is a terrific little time waster. It may not do anything wildly different to other games of its type, but the level design stands head and shoulders above the competition.
The developer gets every ounce of possible gameplay and puzzling goodness from the simplistic blocks and design in the game. Simple Ball tasks you with getting a ball to the end of each course, and the ball will roll blindly and can’t be controlled once the level starts. You need to place the shapes and tools you are given before each stage in order to get the ball to the goal.
The task is made increasingly difficult by a series of traps and obstacles in each level. It is this level design, which the developer gets spot on, that makes the game as good as it is. The learning curve is just about spot on, but you will soon come across some really devious levels on your travels through the game.
The series of power ups that the game employs, along with the variety of differing gravity affected blocks, mean that you will need to combine several layers of thinking to many of the levels, and there can be some degree of frustration, although never too much, and the fact that you can choose any of the levels at any time alleviates a lot of pain.
I do think the game is let down slightly by its theming, which is too generic and uninspiring. It looks functional and isn’t an unattractive game by any means, but I do think it could do with a serious revamp to make it the success its level design deserves.
The 75 levels on offer are a generous yet suitable amount for a 99c game, but there is a free, ad-supported version available as well, which is well worth checking out if you remain unconvinced by the screenshots. I would love to see the creator of this dive into creating a more expansive offering with better graphics and more modes and options, as the talent for level design is clearly there.
I am still playing through some of the levels, with a few that I am stuck on still niggling away at me. The fact that I am still enjoying this challenge, five days after I started (and the reason for the late review!), is a testament to the real quality here, hidden away behind the theming.
A real hidden gem, puzzle fans should snap this one right up.