The Ball

Ah, the age old story of a swashbuckling archaeologist stuck in the cavern inside the slopes of a dormant volcano somewhere in Mexico. We've all been there. Usually, though, we're staring at the toned buttocks of Lara Croft, wondering why she never gets bruised.

Apparently unable to do much more than hop around with the zest of a bored frog, athletics are out of the question in The Ball, and nor is unsavoury polygon lust: for this is a first-person physics puzzle adventure, starring an unseen dude and a mysterious ball.

New balls, please.

As luck would have it, you stumble across some sort of glove that enables you to push and pull this sizeable sphere across the intricately rendered caverns, and so begins an absorbing journey involving our good friend, the pressure pad.

After a few perfunctory exercises in getting you into the swing of things, things take a more surreal turn, with deadly patrolling monsters and various other nasty hazards to be mindful of. At its best, it's all very bite-sized and relaxing, like a bucket of M&S flapjack bites, a glass of red and some ill-gotten American-strength meds.

Sometimes, mind you, Teotl Studios could have signposted the whole thing just a little better, because when you're stuck, The Ball is about as much fun as Five Live on the M25 in rushhour.


radiangames Fluid

  • Xbox Live Arcade Indie/ 80 Microsoft Points (Ł0.64)
Splash damage.

Having mutated Gauntlet, squelched around with Robotron, and turned Space Invaders on its head with its recent trio of sparkling indie releases, radiangames clearly has a healthy fetish for bending arcade classics out of shape.

Fluid continues in this admirably wonky tradition by taking Pac-Man's dot-gobbling premise, setting it in water, and tasking you with chowing down as quickly as you possibly can.

Standing in your way are lots of gloopy red blobs that tail you around the soupy environment, but so much as brush past one of these aqueous denizens, and it's back to the start with you, sonny.

With murder on their mind, there's little choice but to high-tail it around with extreme precision, carving the perfect route through the angry blobs to a four-star performance.

While there might 'only' be 30 courses to circumnavigate, Fluid soon assumes a Trials-like obsession as you try desperately to shave off tenths of a second off your performance. And like Red Lynx's popular obsession, it's bastard hard, and requires the kind of steely-eyed one-more-go resolve to really get the most out of it.

But unlike practically every decent game out there, it's available for pennies, and therefore it is your duty to reward radiangames for its continuing knack of churning out excellent retro-flavoured gems.


About the author

Kristan Reed

Kristan Reed


Kristan is a former editor of Eurogamer, dad, Stone Roses bore and Norwich City supporter who sometimes mutters optimistically about Team Silent getting back together.

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