Mr. Mothball


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John BeaverMr. MothballMr. MothBall, an entry into our last competition (CGDC4), comes from the talented Polish designer Mateusz Skutnik, well known for his immensely popular Submachine series, one of which featured in CGDC1. More recently, Mateusz has introduced another popular graphical point-and-click series, Covert Front, which has been causing quite a stir on this site and in the wider gaming community.

With Mateusz' strong point-and-click pedigree, some visitors may be surprised to see him contribute a platformer. However, this is by no means his first foray into this genre and fans of this game may like to play some of his other platform games at his Pastel Games site, including the previously reviewed Mr. Mothball 2: Cotton Carnage.

Mr. MothBall is a classic piece of platforming action: using the arrow keys, roll the hero through each of 21 levels collecting as many points as possible before hitting the exit. As the game progresses, new elements such as gates, switches and push-able blocks are introduced.

Analysis: Ball physics are always going to be tricky to showcase in a platformer. In this effort, our hero rolls his way around the hemispherical platforms grabbing ball-like pills avoiding ball-shaped enemies and making his way to a spherical exit. However, as has been mentioned in the comments, all of these items could be exchanged for non-spherical objects without affecting the fundamental gameplay.

What this game does have though is charm and style. The hand-drawn backgrounds, characters and platforms give it a great look and feel and the controls and collision detections are solid. But for me, the real strength in this game is the humour used in the character animation: the outstretched arm as Mr. MothBall jumps, or the little bump he receives as a moving platform reaches its peak.

There's no huge replay value here other than beating your previous score, and many players will turn off the music before getting half way through (which thankfully leaves the cute sound effects audible). But its lovable style, finite length and gradually increasing difficulty will persuade most to play it right through to the end.

Play Mr. Mothball

49 Comments

Nicely drawn, but it needs more of an accomplishment than "score points". I'm halfway through it, and there are no surprises.

Besides, just because the main character LOOKS like a ball, doesn't mean it incorporates ball physics. I don't think this game follows the goal very well. It could just as well be Mario jumping around, and it would be no different.

However, I really like the graphics.

Fantastic graphics, good sound and fun, if somewhat simple, gameplay. However this game, apart from the main character being round, seems to be totally lacking in "ball physics"

I liked the art a lot (no surprise there, from the creator of Daymare Town and Submachine). I liked the gameplay. I really liked the sort of variable difficulty level. That is, if you want to just get through to the end, it's a decent challenge, but if you are gunning for a high score, it's a very difficult game.

As far as the ball physics theme goes, I'm torn. On the one hand, I didn't feel like the game captured the theme. He happened to be a ball, sure, but as littlebum said, it might as well have been Mario. On the other hand, I don't really like ball physics games anyway. So objectively, it loses points there, but subjectively, not really, for me.

A nice little diversion, solid entry except for the theme thing... thumbs up.

A very well built platformer. Seemed to be polished off nicely.
As for the ball physics.. it is a ball.. and its jumping... but i guess ball physics is completely up for interpretation anyways.

Good overall game, but not worthy of the final prize.

Cool game, I already finished it though :) I didn't bother trying to get all the thingies that give points, so it went rather quickly :)

I think it held well to the "ball physics" theme. It really feels like you're rolling around the levels.

10783 final score.

Can't say I see a lot of ball physics here, but it's a fun platformer.

This game is way fun. I like it heaps.

Im a HUGE fan of the Submachine series and I enjoy the artwork in his games. This one I felt was a decent game, not one of the greatest but I did enjoy it. As for the theme, the rules did state that it is open to free interpretation. When I think "ball physics," I tend to think of games like Ball Revamped and Peggle, so I'm sure thats where some of us get confused. It is a ball and it does follow the laws of physics.

ADORABLE.

With a little expansion and a few more tricks, this could be a really great one. I loved the moon-meets-cheese asthetic, and it was fun while it lasted. I do agree, it doesn't have much in the way of "ball physics," persay... but there's no reason why it couldn't have a few of them implemented.

But I'm not Flash designer, so...

Wow, love the visuals!

Nice feel to the controls too. Not one of those platformers that leaves you cursing your keyboard!

Fantastic graphics, very tight control. But there's nothing in the gameplay that feels original or compelling to me. Collecting points isn't interesting enough to keep me playing, even when the levels start incorporating some puzzle elements later on. The character is so great, I'd like to see him in a game some day with some more individuality in the game mechanics, and possibly some more specifically ball-related things to do.

same as everyone else, a beautiful little with gorgeous graphics and tune but its a straightforward platform game, not a ball physics game.

Well, as much as I really enjoy this, I do indeed feel that the ball physics are kind of put aside for the platforming idea. It is a very good platformer, and I'll probably play it plenty, but from the point of view of this contest it probably should not hit the prizes.

But then again. It does say to interpret it as you like. Bah! I dunno. Compared to some of the more strict interpretations, though, it is far more enjoyable. I hate trying to work inside the box. Or ball, in this case.

So fun and cute! But what I loved was the unlimited lives, because I'm a casual gamer and not a very good player, and so many of these action games just kill me at the 3rd level. But this one I was able to finish through sheer effort.

I really liked that because some games I want to enjoy the different puzzles or the story, but I can't get very far and then I feel sad. :C Haha, don't know if I'll get any sympathy from game designers for having low skills, but having an easy version of the game, for action games, is the only way I can enjoy it at all. (That's why my favorite games are point-and-click, or hidden object, where it's more puzzles and less hand coordination.)

Its a good looking game, only it was way to easy and because you go to the levels so quickly its to short.

I love the hand drawn style. This is a pretty well made platform game, and good fun for a while. Unfortunately I did get a bit bored after a few levels of doing the same thing over and over. Also as has been said a lot, I can't really see a massive relation to the theme, although you play as a ball and there is gravity involved, so it certainly qualifies.

Overall it's a very well made, good looking game. Could just use something to make it stand out a bit more I think.

Ali

Great graphics, solid platforming. I enjoyed playing through it, trying to figure out how to get every last shell. Ended up with 11833; I might try for a 'perfect score' run later.

I kinda felt it was a bit lacking in excitement, though. I really liked the unlimited lives approach in terms of being able to play a level over and over again until I got it done perfectly, but maybe adding a time deadline would help up the pressure just a tad.

Ok, so a perfect score = 12250 points. There were only a few levels I'd consider 'tricky' - but it was enjoyable enough that I wouldn't mind doing it again sometime.

As usual Skutnik creates great graphics, simple gameplay and easy controls. Not much to do with ball physics though. (I do like the idea of rolling as an action, rather than walking though)

Well i must say this game looks good. But it's only thing i like in it. As someone said here it does not have much of ball physics.

12250???

lol, I never got past 9000 :D

but then again - I wasn't shooting for the best score in the debug mode 8)

cheers, thanks for your opinions.

m

Cute game, with wonderful graphics. I'm not a big platform fan; maybe I'm too old to be able to move and jump at the same time - both in real life and on the computer. This one, though, was pretty accessible. I just liked looking at it as I rolled the little guy around the screen. I especially liked having unlimited lives - that's important for those of us that aren't too coordinated.

Well built, and simply beautiful. I found it to be a solid enough platformer, and went through all of the levels.

However, I'm a little dubious how this fits the ball-physics genre, it also lacks the originality that I'd be looking for in a winner.

If there's a prize for graphics, it's certainly up there though.

i liked the charming feel of the game a lot, great work on that side :)

Not bad. I like the simple graphics. But what makes it different from any other anonymous platformer? What is special about this one? It could have been the story, but there seems to be none. It could be a special theme, but it isnt all that special. Cute, yes, but no more. And more rewards than just points would help. In short, a promising game, if more time is spended in telling the story in there and polishing it a bit, it could be a great one too.

(And then there is the ball, but where are the physics?)

This game has little to do with either balls or physics, and I don't understand why it's even in the competition.

I'm sorry, but this has NO ball physics at all, and the only physics is the gravity. otherwise, though, nice artwork, and nice platformer

Sadly, I agree about the lack of ball physics. I do, however, like many others think this game is the CUTEST (or as most would say, "the graphics are great"). Mr. Mothball would look great on my T-shirt.
Smooth play, and easy controls, but I would have liked a little more challenge.

I loved the graphics. It was a fun way to spend 5 minutes or so. Its a good game but I don't really see the theme much in it.

Linus said:
"if you are gunning for a high score, it's a very difficult game."

I disagree:

1. Lose a life.
2. Earn more points.
3. Repeat.
A limitation on lives, or a score reset on death, would solve this problem.

when you die points reset to the number you had when you entered the location.

so try again.

Well, what can be said... This is the qualit one would expect from the creator of the Submachine Saga...

The two things I especially liked about it was the well designed levels and that I knew roght from the start how many levels there are to beat - I hate it when I dont know how far I am from the end. There was a game that I gave up at the penultimate level not knowing that there are only two more levels to beat...

What I lack here is the relevance to the contest's theme, but I had a great time playing.

I got 9219 points and in the first 5-6 levels i left most of the small shells behind.

Grat job, Mateusz!

Gorgeous, gorgeous game.

As for the "ball physics" aspect, well there are physics there - what, gravity and momentum aren't physics? Balls don't have to be bouncing off of each other to be implementing "physics."

That said, if you are going to branch away from the pinball/billiards ball physics theme it would be nice to branch somewhere interesting. It's a short platformer/puzzle with good graphics. Not much else to see here.

And the game reeeeealllly drags for the first 5 or so levels, with lots of boring waiting if you want to collect all the things. Later on the puzzles are more interesting and it requires some fast reflexes and nimble gameplay, but even there, the unlimited lives kinda suck the challenge and excitement out of it.

Sum up: Beautiful graphics, nice physics, some nice puzzles, very short, little challenge.

I always have a soft soft for cartoonish games, and this was a lot of fun. Unfortunately, it really doesn't tie in with the theme, and there are lots of other good entries in this contest.

@mateusz:
I stand corrected. And apologies for my rudeness--I was trying to be terse to save typing, and forgot to consider my tone.

How do you get past level 11?

Lovely visuals! Hand drawn animation and backgrounds seem like such an obvious choice when you do it.

The level design wasn't my favourite though.

this game was so so so nice to play. lovely feel of the controls and the graphics, just wow. as for the theme though nothing particularly ball physics-y about it and the concept is not particularly new, just another platform game really. mega points for effort though!

while the visuals are great and you can see the ball physics of the rolling movement
I quit early because I found the game play lacking
reminiscent of some kind of platform pacman with out magic power ups
you can go directly to the next level by just entering the magical portal without scoring much and I found it boring
no magic key to find to open it
no power ups just rolling and jumping
while its kid safe to say the least which is a good thing don't get me wrong
but it lacks any real excitement in my honest oppinion
of course you could attempt to grab all the balls but its a boring challenge without some kind of power up to tip the teeter-totter in your favor
of course some games can get a way with this like point and clicks and such but only because they include the factor of exploration
maybe if this game was open ended (side to side with buildings and characters and going back and forth to stuff) in someway it might help

I love the Submarine Games!!!!!!! and this game is very good also!!! My advice: PLAY NOW!!!!

So beautiful, I could play all day. And, like all of this artist's other games it's now in my bookmarks. My favorite feature? No matter how many times I dropped my little fella in the abyss, he always came back up with a smile on his face. Brilliant graphics, logical levels, enough of a challenge for a quick pick-me-up after work. Love it!

Yes, the big star for this one is the artwork which, if you have played the submachine games as much as I have, is in and of itself worth at least a few play throughs.

Still, beyond the artwork, there's little to distinguish this from other platformers out there. Don't get me wrong, it's good and fun, but not the best of its kind.

A good solid game, but it just feels as though it's missing something, what that might be, I really couldn't say, I'm sorry.

I had a LOT of trouble playing it... the graphics were great and the gameplay itself wasn't bad at all (I liked the long jumps; no difficulty reaching platforms) but the collision detection felt off with the rolling red things. I shouldn't have to worry about getting hit by something when it's a foot away and rolling the other direction.

This does incorporate ball physics!
Some of the levels were based on timing a jump correctly, which is all based on the physics of the game.

11862, not as good as Valarauka ;)

Sigh, 11845

YEAH I got 12118 ;) Cheers!

12250 for me.

I can only get 4 of the 5 shells on level 7 - has anyone gotten all 5?

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