Off Balance

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Rating: 3.9/5 (78 votes)
| Comments (14) | Views (1)

PsychotronicOff BalanceAt first glance, Off Balance, from Fernando Holguin of Insane Angel Studio, looks just like all those other maze games where you move your mouse from Point A to Point B without hitting any walls. And indeed, that's the general idea. You control a preternaturally cheerful ball of cotton on a mildly psychedelic quest through 25 stages full of obstacles. On each level, you must touch all of the red dots, turning them blue, without bursting your little friend on the walls or getting zapped by the bad guys. You have infinite lives, but your game will end when you run out of time. Simple enough.

The trick is in the steering.

You see, Mister Cotton doesn't follow your pointer at all. Instead, his acceleration is affected by the cursor's position in relation to the center of the screen. If you point at the top of the screen, he'll go up, and so forth. It feels more like you're tilting the whole playfield, rather than controlling Monsieur Coton directly. Which makes this a game less about navigating obstacles, and more about drunkenly teetering into things.

To even the odds, Signore Cotone earns Cotton Points, which he can spend to use special powers. You can apply the brakes (the game says "breaks," but it means "brakes") with the [Shift] key, and use your Hyper-Rainbow-Acceleration! ability with [ctrl]. You only get one additional Cotton Point per level, though, so don't waste 'em.

Off Balance is relatively short, but the level layouts get pretty clever by the end. Eventually you'll encounter cannons, evil "infected" cotton balls (which are quite terrifying if you have an actual phobia of infected cotton balls), and even a couple of bosses. The bosses are way harder than they should be, due to some terrible collision detection on their projectiles, but it's neat to see them in a game like this anyway. And all the while, the clouds in the background pulse like they're having a puffy, vaporous seizure. It's all quite charming.

In other news, the developer of Off Balance is called Insane Angel Studio, and now I have a mental image of the Archangel Gabriel lining his Soho loft with tinfoil while gibbering about chemtrails.

Play Off Balance


stupidcheeseboy Author Profile Page October 23, 2008 2:33 PM

ok, I may be being dumb but I cant get this game to play.
Page loads, advert fades...then what?

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If the CandyStand links above don't work, try this one:

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stupidcheeseboy Author Profile Page October 23, 2008 2:44 PM

woot! I'm in. Thanx Jay

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The_Corruptor Author Profile Page October 23, 2008 2:48 PM

If the candystand links don't work, change your country to United States (top left option). They (apparently) don't want to offer games to us canucks.

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The acceleration constant seems too low.
Normally a game like this requires a certain amount of finesse. This is more like put your mouse all the way to the edge of the screen and pray it moves fast enough.

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The little ball of cotton looks bizarrely like one of the chicks that featured in last week's Neutral Halloween Minigame

Coincidence? Or the power of JiG? ;)

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I'm certain it's purely coincidence.

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Control is horrible.
Cutesy repetitive music make me want to stab people.
Not for me.

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Ezrabbit - Horrible control because it's different?

So often we see games that try something different getting panned because it's not what many players would expect, and we continue to hear complaints from players who get tired of clones and rehashed ideas.

I found that the controls of this game made it humorously entertaining. :)

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fuzzyface Author Profile Page October 23, 2008 6:59 PM

Sorry, but I too must be negative about this.

Except making the controls more quirky I don't see anything exciting about that.

The idea to have something not as absolute as the mousepointer, but moving in dynamic is not new. Only normally the avatar you moved around, the cursor destinated its movement relative to the avatar. The "invention" of this game is instead of making it relative of the avatar, make it fix into the middle. Nothing exciting in my eyes.

And many first person 3D flying games have this exact control too, for years.

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Okay... I UNDERSTAND the steering concept. Let's make that clear. The arrow in the center determines where your cloud goes. The further away your cursor is from that arrow, the faster your little dude goes.

But it's still TOO HARD to steer, no matter what speed you're at. Not only that, it's frustrating having to move the mouse all over the screen just to get it to behave.

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Anonymous October 24, 2008 2:03 AM

It's as much fun as playing on a joystick that doesn't spring back to center. Some find it a welcome challenge; the rest, infuriating.

I can't get past the grenade level only because I refuse to buy misspelled 'breaks.'

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Cute game but no Zen points.

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I'm Fernando Holguin (creator of: Off Balance)

LMAO, that was one great review.
Don't worry, all feedback is excellent.

Thanks Psychotronic.

I'll make sure my next game makes it here.
The controls of my next game are far easier to master.

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