Bucketball


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Rating: 4.6/5 (1175 votes)
| Comments (71) | Views (84)

PsychotronicBucketballBucketball is a brand-new physics-based game from Arseniy Desrosiers (Gamebalance) and Florian Himsl (Komix). If you've already guessed that the general thrust of the gameplay has something to do with "buckets" and "balls," then congratulations, your amazing brain is way ahead of the curve and you win your very own Shetland pony.

No, seriously, simplicity is the name of the game here (well, actually, it's "Bucketball"), and indeed, the interaction of balls and buckets is the theme. You get 20 levels to test your skills of aim and timing. Each level presents you with a certain number of differently-colored buckets, and the same number of differently-colored balls. Your job is to get the right balls into the right buckets by striking them with invisible vectors of force. The fewer strokes it takes to complete a level, the higher your score. Easy, casual, no fuss, no muss.

The mouse controls everything. When you bring the pointer near a ball, a little arrow appears. Hold the mouse button to build up power, and release to fire the ball in the direction of the arrow. This control method feels comfortable and undemanding, which matches the general vibe of the game. There's no timer or official target score for any of the levels, so you're free to play with the physics and take as many shots as you want. You can even strike another ball while the previous one is still in motion. If you'd rather go for the minimum number of shots and max out your score, you can restart a level at any time with no penalty.

Analysis: Bucketball drew me in right away. Desrosiers' lively musical score has a threatening undertone to it that belies the bright, clean graphics. That tension makes more and more sense as the level design gets meaner and meaner, but the lack of forced goals keeps the edge off for a while. It takes quite a bit of precision to succeed after the first few levels, but it feels great whenever you make a shot. The balls have a solid sense of weight but almost no elasticity (I'm guessing they're supposed to be wooden croquet balls or bocce balls), so you can't really rebound them off anything. You just have to hit them at the perfect angle with the perfect strength, and that means every shot is an honest test of skill.

BucketballNevertheless, the level design eventually gets quite tricky. A ball flung straight up at maximum charge will reach about halfway up the screen before falling back to earth; but if you need to hit a target higher than that, you'll have to be clever. A bucket will spit a ball out at high speed if it happens to be the wrong color, and although that feature first appears to be a punishment, it eventually may prove useful. Not that I'm giving you a hint or anything. Try not to allow the wrong ball to fall into a bucket pointed directly skyward, because that means the ball gets rejected straight up, and it usually falls right back into the same bucket, only to be spat out again. This cycle usually only repeats itself two or three times before the ball lands to one side, but it's still annoying.

Another problem becomes apparent when you have several balls lying close to each other. Because you can't select a specific ball directly, it can be hard to get the little arrow connected to the right ball and pointing in the right direction all at the same time. It sometimes comes down to a difference of mere pixels, which is a little too much precision for my taste.

Finally, I have to offer a warning. 20 levels doesn't sound like a lot of work, but when the difficulty curve is shaped like an open field with a giant skyscraper at one end, you may experience some frustration. Allow me to illustrate:

BucketballYou know how you felt when you were a little kid, and you went miniature golfing for the first time, and you didn't care about boring grown-up things like "keeping score" and "staying out of the decorative waterfall"? Miniature golf was fun, right? The whole place was packed full of cool moving machine parts, you got to whack one hard object with another hard object, and every time you randomly managed to get the ball in the hole after about 8 wild swings, everybody clapped and made cute little patronizing "Yay" sounds. Except you were a kid, so you didn't realize that the indiscriminate emotional rewards were damaging your internal motivation, and you just lapped up the praise like a hog with a face full of buttermilk. Life was good. Golf was your new best friend.

And then came The Hill.

There was always a hole featuring a pyramid—or sometimes a cone—with the goal set at the very pinnacle. If you didn't hit the ball absolutely straight, it would curve pathetically off to the side; if you hit it straight but not hard enough, it would only reach halfway up the hill, and then come rolling pathetically all the way back to your pathetic feet while your sister laughed at you. If you hit it too hard, you would skip right over the hole at light speed and bonk your sister in the elbow, which she totally deserved. But no matter what you did, no matter how many strokes you took, you would never be able to actually get the ball in the hole, and all of a sudden you did care about your score, and this stupid hole was ruining it, and your sister was still laughing, and you were going to spend the rest of your life here, with a million strangers staring at you, thinking "Gosh, what a stupid kid. He plays golf so stupid and he has stupid braces. I'm sure glad my kid was born with ten thousand perfect teeth and he gets a hole-in-one every time, especially on The Hill, which is the easiest hole on the whole course, unless you just happen to be the THE STUPIDEST, UGLIEST CHILD IN THE ENTIRE WORLD." And then you stopped trying to get the ball in the hole and instead just flailed blindly at it with your club until it flew into the next-door merry-go-round and knocked the head off a plastic flamingo.

Remember that feeling? That's what Bucketball is like. Haaaaarrd. It might be the very last level that breaks you, or the pain might come as early as level 7, which resembles The Hill a little too closely for comfort. But I'm not really complaining. Any game that can dredge up childlike emotions so deftly is doing something right, even if it's playing a little bit dirty.

Play Bucketball

71 Comments

This was a fun experience until about level 18. Then I found some serious gameplay flaws ruined the experience. A few comments on these flaws:

Level 18:

The last bucket in the upper-left requires you to make it in at least one shot after a chain of precise shots (that can be quite frustrating). This really isn't so bad, but after getting there, it'd be nice if you didn't have to do it again if you misjudge one shot. Even then, this level is still fun.

Level 19:

This pit is ridiculous. It requires a precision shot to knock the ball out, which on its own isn't so bad, except if you miss or accidentally get the green or red ball back in the blue bucket after knocking the green out, you have to restart the level. This is a valid game mechanic in some games (if you don't solve it right, you restart and try again) but this game isn't that game. What was not a reset-fest suddenly becomes one in the second-to-last level.

Level 20:

I haven't finished this level yet, but I know it involves getting balls to balance on that little hill, which I haven't been able to do yet. It's not fun - just frustrating. I'm so close, but I'm finding it difficult to care anymore.

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Yeah, just to follow up, I ended up giving up on level 20 because I stopped having fun. If the game were shorter - why not 18 levels, like golf? - I actually would have enjoyed it more because I would have ended it satisfied rather than frustrated.

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There are not enough words to describe how much I hate Level 18.

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The red ball on level 20 about made me throw my laptop through the wall. I had fun though, other comments notwithstanding. It was hard.

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Well, I ended up throwing in the towel at Level 19. While Level 18 made me want to punch the wall, I became worried that the longer I played Level 19, the more likely I was actually going to do it.

Apart from the ridiculous difficulty of Level 18 and 19 (I never even saw 20), there are a couple of flaws that make this game frustrating.

First, there is no good way to accurately select the ball you want to shoot. In levels like 18 where there a number of balls right next to each other, it became very difficult selecting the correct ball.

Secondly, if by some chance you were to click on the wrong ball, there is no way to cancel the shot, leaving you to shoot the ball somewhere else and thus decreasing the amount of points you will get.

If the author either improved the ball selection mechanics and/or added a way to cancel a shot (press spacebar or something) along with ending the game at a tweaked Level 18, it would be a much better game.

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dude, finally beat it

expected some sense of accomplishment, but instead i just feel dirty

im gonna go take a shower

noone should ever put it the time to beat this ludicrously difficult game

ever

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I've always wanted a shetland pony!

One of the key factors that kept me playing in this game was phenomenal sound design. Flash games lack that oh-so-special sound treatment that higher budget titles get, and everything from launch to landing seems polished. It feels like I'm playing an arcade game without dumping quarters into a slot.

Nice job guys.

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Is it just me or is the ending music the beginning of the MacGyver theme song?

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Psychotronic,

I feel your pain regarding The Hill, and for that reason I refuse to let this game get the better of me. I put it down after the cups started rotating.

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Sorry to everyone who had trouble on level 20, but I didn't really think it was that hard. On the other hand, level 19 drove me crazy. I kept on almost succeeding - and then either the green or red ball would fall into the blue basket. Level 11 wasn't exactly fun, either. But other than 19, I think this game's difficulty was just about right.

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Can't say too much but the first 10 levels were pretty fun.

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I was so pleased with myself to get into the second half of the levels, and then to get all the way to level 19. I thought level 19 was impossible until I read Reis' complaint

about knocking the ball away

but I gave up for good almost right away. Too bad, because the 18 levels up to then had been fun. Ok, maybe level 18 was a tiddy bit frustrating.

Regarding the balls being too close together,

it drove me crazy until I realized I just moved the ones I didn't want out of the way temporarily

.

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this game nicely polished...but way too frustrating

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Like it for the graphics, but not much else. The physics sometimes do something totally stupid and that just pisses me off, because physics are a constant and shouldn't act different every now and then.

Can't comment on the sound because I had A Quick One blasting in my ears. I do commend them for presentation, though. Pretty.

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I like most everything about this game.

But the controls (particularly the power build up) are incredibly bad. It's hard to imagine a way to make them worse without making the game unplayable.

Making the same tiny shot forty or fifty times in a row, because you can get the power right is not fun. Just frustrating.

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This game was entertaining for a while, but the last levels seem to get unreasonably hard. Level 19 was my quitting point - I absolutely hated getting everything right only to screw up the last shot of a non-blue ball and have it land in the blue bucket.

There's one good thing about this though; at least the difficulty is always getting harder, as opposed to "Level 12 was really hard, but the next few levels were pretty easy."

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Come on guys... keep up the spirit... it wasn't that hard... if you just keep trying, again, and again and again, there' no real trick to it... 23090 final score.

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I agree with Marbles. Levels 18, 19 & 20 look harder than they are. It's a matter of keeping the nerves under control. Nevertheless, I'm quite happy I finished it...
Useful for level 20:

you need the blue ball in the bucket to be able to putt the red and yellow one.

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These pixel-perfect games always get me frustrated too quickly to complete them. I leave highly unsatisfied.

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It was difficult but you can, yes you can complete the final level....

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Level 20

Ok, this level is very annoying and deserves a spoiler.

Purple Ball

Launch the ball full force through that narrow opening on the left of the screen. Then inch it over as far to the left of the ledge as you can. Launch full force on as much of an angle to the right as you can without hitting anything, and in it goes.

Green Ball

Launch full force from the left of the cup on as much of an angle as you can. Not too hard.

Blue Ball

Get the ball on that little hill to the right. Inch it over to the right edge of the hill (you can inch over by pointing down to the right and launching softly). Launch full force on as much of an angle to the left as you can without hitting anything and it should go in.

Red and Yellow Balls

You need to get the blue ball in before these two. When a ball is in the cup the launch goes further. Set the ball (either one) on the little hill as you did with the blue ball. Launch into the blue cup and it will then launch onto the ledge. From there you should be able to get into the red and yellow cups.

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While I liked the concept of this game, the difficulty is just ridiculous, to the point where I simply didn't want to play anymore. And I agree with Tranchera; they physics are wonky at best... they almost seem geared to make the gameplay more difficult than it needs to be. A better aiming tool would make this game much more fun.

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Nice game - pretty frustrating at times, but all the levels are doable and the game is pretty polished - I really enjoyed it!

A wee note about the physics - I think it helps to consider the balls as just a *touch* "sticky", so they cling to edges and drop in a way you might not expect.

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Difficult?... You bet!
Impossible?... Only if you give up!

If you're playing it for the first time, don't even think about going for a perfect score and just concentrate on getting the feel of the gameplay and you'll enjoy the game a whole lot more.

It took a while to get past the frustration of a few levels but once I did, I found myself enjoying the challenge. When I hit level 19, I had to walk away and take a break. But things were a bit easier the next day. 17420 on my first try. Probably not to good but since there is no high score list, I can take comfort that I was actually able to finish it :-)

I hope to see a BucketBall II in the future.

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Some Cute Guy September 5, 2008 11:16 PM

I have a weird suspicious that your complaints about too hard is some affected by reviewer. I found controls handy enough.
Good game all the way.

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The good:
* Polished graphics
* Idea
* Music quite good (distracting sometimes though).

The bad:
* Powerbar spoilingly fast, should be way slower.
* Fysics.. The ball could suck to underside walls abit. (Not that it made game different so much)
* "Auto select" becoming mixed up to often.
* Very annoying to aim with Powerbar at full.

Lost interest after a while, sorry to say.

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Hint for those on level 20 (And power to you for even getting there with hair left.)

Blue,Red,Yellow balls. Shoot them over the little hill on the ground, then fire them over it at full power at the flat part of the floating rock "holding" the green bucket on the right side.

They will land on the hill. (most of the time)

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final score:

21590

not sure if that's good or what...

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Hey, this game is great (although frustrating at all times) but I was wondering if there was anyway to get the music? I find the music quite relaxing and interesting.

some levels require you to shoot the ball into the wrong basket, huh...

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Fishy - I can make this music as like full versions like make them loop 2 times and outro ending but only if you advertise my music to 100 real people :P
http://gamebalance.com/music/ - not contains any tracks I used in my games yet.
if you ready to advertise me some I will make it.
Or any other intresting suggestions ^_^

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Anyway the similar track I have there is hocus shooter sound track. Check it out.
P.Sss.
Is Ok right? I can spam like that right?
Hohoho.
P.F.
Hey guys? Is game really that hard? :D
Personally I not found the problem with select balls(is like part of challenge u know) or aim and power charge.
Thanks fo the feedback. Waiting for more.
Ah yes! The ending music is not a copy of anything as well as both music tracks playing in game. End theme made based on the 2nd track theme.

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can't access the game here

it loads then the play button appears and then I get into a loop between "sponsored by" and the page with the play button

Adblock off, cookies allowed, Firefox 3.0.1

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bmbl: Are you trying to play through a proxy?

The current version is site-locked for an exclusive period where it is hosted. If you're trying to visit through a proxy or any other means that masks where you're playing the game from, then it is possible the script that protects the game is not granting you access.

A non-site-locked version will be released soon.

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Frustating. Gave up on level 6.

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I have been playing video games since I was three at least. In addition, I have played just about every type of game and have gotten good at every type of game. It is hard for me to understand how people can't beat certain things. For instance, I read comments on "The hardest game in the world" and frankly, people can't get past level one when I can easily get past level twelve. Just in the case of this game, there are people who can't beat level six. Well, the game was hard at the end, but I seriously beat the game in 30 minutes. I don't mean to brag, but people, stop complaining. Maybe the creators are as good or better than me so this game didn't come across as hard to them.

So please stop complaining. Every comment just about, is a complaint.

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Thank you Tor. I'm the person who likes challenge when the game is worthy of that(when I feel game is smart) and we were creating the game with a challenge.

The half hour is good time. I guess you are skilled. As for the ones who are not skilled, I cannot say anything. Before release, I tested the game on several people who faced hardness also, but they won after a while.

It took 40-60 mins for them to get through all levels. Yes the last few are hardest, but it's like you prepare all the skill through the game to win the last level, you know. And is it really so hard :\

In Russia we say - fear has big eyes.

Also I would suggest you make a daily pause when you face problems with this type of game. It will accumulate some experience inside and you will do better the next day with a fresh mind. I always use this trick with games.

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The game was fun overall and I enjoyed it, but I have one major issue with it.

The game is all about precision. The game physics combined with the power bar speed introduce an element of randomness*. These two things work horribly in combination especially when a level requires 3 or 4 precise shots in a row with no mistakes.

I spent about 30 minutes on level 19 making the exact same shots over and over every time with full power aiming at the same place and with the same timing. eventually all of the shots worked in a row but it became a game of luck rather than skill.

(* I imagine if my computer did not lag at all the power bar speed would be easy to deal with and I would have beaten it in half an hour too Tor. Alternately it may just be the case that you were extremely lucky on the last levels.)

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louisthe2nd Author Profile Page September 9, 2008 2:29 AM

Finally made it out...thankfully there was the save / continue feature. Level 20 was not as hard as some of the others. Cheers

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Arseniy Desrosiers September 9, 2008 8:55 AM

Robzilla - level 19 is much easer than you was think. The problem probably was that ur mind tired and you was rush into game or something. It really easy level when u calm. U just shoot with blue ball to shoot green one out(it's really easy for me to make full power and predict the moment to shoot).

I think u just was tired and instead of half hour could just leave game for a while and come back next day and beat it in few minutes.

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tor...just because others didn't share the same experience as you doesn't make their option non valid complaint or otherwise...an opinion is just that an opinion.

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CaptPicard September 9, 2008 7:20 PM

I finally finished the game with a score of 22250.

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Ok how in the world did you all beat lvl 15

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The game got stuck at Lvl 9, after I shot the yellow ball in the green bucket. It is automatically shot out again and again, but does not reach the outside of the hole. Definitely a design fault, just two or three pixels less in depth, and the hole would have been ok

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Joe

If a level gets stuck, just hit the restart button and try again.

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at last!

28480 points

level 20 is so difficult
first purple ball
second green ball
third blue ball
...
next
the hell

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22040 Uhooooo

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I just figured out the trick to level 19!

well first of all..
move the blue ball to the left space.
then put red ball on the platform the blue ball previously was.
aim, and try to use the red ball to knock out the green ball, to the right.
if this works, the red ball will then take the green balls place, in falling in and out of the blue basket.
now use the blue ball to try and know out the red ball.
if this works, the blue ball will fall into its bucket, and the red and green balls should be to the right...

now place the green ball to far right corner and aim for its basket, it shouldn't be to hard.
and then do the same for the red ball..

voila..
if 2 or 3, balls fall into the blue basket at once then reset.

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game took me about a half hour to do...a lot of fun but very difficult. levels 19 & 20 are tough but if you're patient enough, you can easily do it.

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Finally!
20360 points.

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Finally completed it! That last one is a hard one but it is beatable. The purple ball was actually the hardest for me. Final: 25999

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SPOILER?
i finished level 20.

So, you need to get the purple ball onto the ledge on the far left then shoot it into the purple bucket from there. This may take a few times as if you dont angle it right it will role back.
To get the blue ball in you need to get it onto the small hill and position it as close to the right edge as possible then fire it to the blue bucket. may take a few times to do this. Then you need to fire the red ball into the blue bucket and it will bounce out onto the floating ledge. then fire it into the red bucket. may take a few times.
Do the same for yellow only when you are on the floating ledge aim the ball upwards on a slight angle and it should land in the yellow bucket. Then finally the green ball needs to be aimed towards the bucket so it bounces off of the big ledge and into the bucket.

I hope this helps anyone who is stuck.

[Edit: Spoiler tags added. -Pam]

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Please - Level 16 - Have no idea. Should I put in the green and/or blue or leave them out? How do I combine to get things higher?

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Level 20 sucks. 18 & 19 got frustrating. But other than that the game wasn't half bad. Thanks for the walk throughs.

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I hated the Hill, and I loved the review. Made me laugh. Thanks!

Also, the reason I do not care for this game too much is that it requires precision, but does not make it easy to hit precise shots. I prefer a puzzle, this is just in exercise in mouse-release skills.

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Thanks for the level 20 Tip, it was the only that got me stuck.
Final Score: 25,999

Thanks lots!

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As far as canceling, I found that if you aim straight down it will barely move the ball. Useful for times when you have held the mouse button too long and do not want to shoot it so hard.

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Since you can't cancel, just aim straight down and release the mouse button.

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hello all........... can ANYONE please please help me with level 20. took me 2 days for level 19, looks like im in for a long week... thanx.

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I finally did it. Level 18 was fine to me, but I hated level 19. I had to turn off that annoying music, otherwise I'd gone mad. And when I finally did level 20, there was nothing but "Congratulations, you win!".

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darlingdestruction Author Profile Page January 7, 2009 2:14 PM

Fun game, but I gave up while trying desparately to get orange ball into its cup on level 18. I had all the other balls home, just that orange one... AGH!

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That game was hell...

Everything was pretty easy but the last few levels gave me such a headache i had to hop off for a bit to stop my head from thinking about buckets and balls...

ARGH but I finally finished getting 14310 so meh.

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Seriously?
I can't get pass level 19. The green ball WILL NOT go into the bucket. why?

This game was fun until you get to 18 and 19. I don't think I'll finish this level of hell

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I can not pass level 18! Someone help me! I'm like going mad Because of it!

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Total score: 18040

To be honest, I don't see what everyone's complaining about. It was a fun and challenging game, but not all that hard, barring the purple ball on the final level, which I spent a good 5 minutes working on.

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KuroiKaze March 24, 2010 5:54 PM

This is a legitimately tough game at points.

Final score: 34370
All you get is a Congrats, You Win screen.
It's like playing NES all over again.

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LEVEL 19 IS IMPOSSIBLE!
I can't figure out how to get the green ball out of the blue cup. :( well i got it once but it fell back in so i had to restart the level. i tried it so many times its ridiculous!!!!

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I like Bucketball. It works well on my new MacBook Pro and not all Flash games do. It's really simple, but it keeps me trying to beat it.

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What's funny is I find at the higher levels I am dealing with my own lack of precision in the use of the trackpad on my new machine. I wonder if that happens to others who play this game also?

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Bucketball is pretty intense. I've kept playing it for two days now.

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Made it through Level 7. Level 8 appears to be the first one where you have to put get the balls up on a platform before you can shoot for the cups.

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Well, Level 8 perplexed me. I solved it by shooting one of the balls into the wrong color cup.

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Weekday Escape N°47> elle With Halloween around the corner from Weekday Escape, it's time for something a little bit scary, a lot of walking around, and a handful of candy to make it all the more fun. That's where these three escapes from Selfdefiant, Hottategoya and FunkyLand come in. No Elsa or Olaf costumes needed: just use your wits and tackle a few puzzles.  ...

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