Game Info:

Published By: Starsign
Developed By: Starsign, SIMS Co.
Released: September 15, 2016
Available On: 3DS
Genre: Puzzle, Strategy
ESRB Rating: E for Everyone
Number of Players: 1
Price: $1.99

Thank you Rainy Frog Games for sending us review codes for Starsign's games!

I recently reviewed Ping Pong Trick Shots by Starsign, and though the graphics are limited, I found it to be a decent little game. Well a second title from them has been released to the eShop and it very much resembles Ping Pong Trick Shots in terms of appearance.

There are three modes to choose from in Collide-a-Ball: Free Play, Wait & Go!, and Single Ball. They each share similarities, but do change up the established formula presented in Free Play.


Strong Points: Clever and challenging puzzle game; 3D is utilized very well; Upbeat music.
Weak Points: Barebones graphics; Limited gameplay appeal.
Moral Warnings: None.

Free Play is made up of 30 stages which can be played in any order. The goal is to use objects and different types of panels to make a red and a blue ball collide at a goal flag at the same time. Hence the name of the game! By using the touch screen speed panels, ramps, and other things can be manipulated to affect the speed of each ball. Usually there's only one solution and it's not too difficult to figure out what to do. As you're given all the objects on screen to move and rotate as you please, solutions will quickly become apparent in the early stages. The later stages, specifically 20 through 30, aren't as obvious and are very well designed. They were challenging and I liked the quick ramp up in difficulty. 

Wait & Go! consists of 20 stages and in this mode objects cannot be interacted with. Instead, the balls will roll on their own when the stage is started. It's up to the player to gauge how much of a delay will be needed to send the balls off at the right times so that they collide at the predestined spot. Pressing the start button sends the blue ball out and pressing it again will release the red ball. This mode can require a bit more precision in timing than I would have liked, but it was a fun mode all the same.

Last up is Single Ball, which is made up of only 10 stages. In this mode the player must use the objects on screen to slow down the ball enough that it stops on the goal flag. This one felt a bit tacked on and didn't last me very long. It did provide a challenge like the other modes, and it left me wanting a few more stages when I was done.

Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 80%
Gameplay - 16/20
Graphics - 6/10
Sound - 8/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls - 5/5

Morality Score - 100%
Violence - 10/10
Language - 10/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

Graphically, this is a tiny step up from Ping Pong Trick Shots. The background is still a static blue sky and the playing fields are checkerboard tiles. The tiles that send a ball left or right are a bit confusing at first, but after using them once you'll know which is which. The 3D is much more welcoming for this title and adds a nice layer of depth without being too harsh on the eyes. It's a shame the game feels so barebones, as this is actually a great puzzle game.

Soundwise, the few tracks to be heard in the game are upbeat and mesh well with the gameplay on screen. The looping tracks are catchy and surprisingly didn't get old to me. The balls' themselves make funny noises when going over panels or when they fall off a high ledge. I personally found the minimalistic approach in the sound department to actually enhance the game. 

At the end of the day Collide-a-Ball is a great puzzle game that is only held back by its lack of visual flair. The price tag alone should entice players to try this one out. I'm willing to bet most will come away just as surprised as I was in regards to the amount of fun to be had. Collide-a-Ball is filled with moments that require critical thinking, which is one of the reasons it comes recommended.



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