That is how I'd sum-up this gorgeous game that Rich Nelson just released on his Merciless Games website. Puff Ball is a single-player arcade action game played under the sea against a computer-controlled opponent.
Gameplay consists of bouncing a puff ball back and forth until a player misses. Each round is played until one player reaches five (5) points. Every few rounds you'll have an opportunity to score extra points in a 30-second bonus round. When the computer wins a round, the game ends.
The mouse is used for moving left and right along the bottom of the top-down view. The Pong-like gameplay is made a bit more interesting by the ability to spike the puff ball when fully charged with energy. Press and hold the mouse button down to begin charging, and then release just prior to hitting the ball to spike it. If performed correctly, the computer opponent will be stunned by the ball for a few seconds allowing you an easy point.
To score additional points, fish will swim across the play field that will add to your score if hit by your volley. Stingrays will occasionally cross possessing power-ups that can temporarily handicap the computer.
Analysis: The game is very polished and looks great. The graphics are made from 3D models with subtle animations that appear especially life-like. Very, very nice. The gameplay, however, is mediocre at best. Although the game has three difficulty levels, and even on hard it's just way too easy. After reaching round 38 with over 250,000 points, I gave up and let the computer beat me unchallenged so I could finish this review and get some sleep. Otherwise, it seemed the game would go on forever.
And it shouldn't be surprising the game is too easy since the computer and the player are so unevenly matched: The computer cannot spike the ball, nor can it hit the stingrays to activate power-ups. The result is at first a game that is fun to play but quickly loses its appeal from the lack of a challenge.
Still, considering this is Rich's first game, it's an excellent effort and I am very eager to see what's to come next.
Cheers to Tonypa for the link. =)