Go Home Ball


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Rating: 4.4/5 (1099 votes)
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kateGo Home BallDo you ever get tired of physics games? Has designing absurdly complex machines become mundane? Do you just wish that someone would do all that work for you? Today, dear readers, is your lucky day! Go Home Ball is here! (Applause!)

Go Home Ball is a shiny new addition to a special new subgenre of games that I shall call "physicslite." Or "litephysics." Which sounds better? Scratch that. We'll call it "physics fill-in-the-blank." That rolls right off the tongue, doesn't it?

So there's this Ball. Ball wants to Go Home. It's your job to get Ball home. Ball lives in a hollow tree stump in a forest. Yes he does. Thankfully, said forest is filled with ramps, bridges, floating platforms, mine carts and more. These items are thoughtfully configured into those Goldberg-esque contraptions that you're just too tired to build anymore. Well, mostly configured. Some parts are missing, and that's where it starts to get interesting.

Each level is missing different objects: sticks, springs and swinging baskets, to name a few. Using the [arrow keys] and the [mouse], you can place the missing pieces in the appropriate spots, rotating or activating them when needed, easily creating a safe little path that Ball can use to Go Home. Game over! Yay for Ball! The End!

Incorrect! It's as if the forest itself is working against you here! Each item that you place has a life span of two seconds, and you can't place a second item while the first item is in play. Only precise timing on your part will keep poor Ball from falling into the void and you from losing 10 points. On top of that, there's a level timer to beat. And on top of that? Ball needs to collect all of the stars scattered around the screen before happily rolling Home.

Later levels become more intricate. You'll need to switch between items, using your hand to give Ball a little push and then quickly pressing [down] to switch to a spring for Ball to bounce on. A touchpad is not recommended for this one, especially as the difficulty increases.

Analysis: Go Home Ball is difficult, to say the least. Go Home Ball might very well suck the will to live right out of your brain, to say the most. The game is unforgiving in terms of timing (I'm looking in your direction, Level 8!) and combined with the short life span of your placed objects, your clicking skills will be pushed to the limit.

Ball isn't very helpful, either. You would think he would be, since he's the one who wants to Go Home and all. The gameplay is a bit stiff, you see. Ball simply refuses to bounce or roll like a normal ball would do. When you use your hand to push Ball, Ball shall stop exactly where he wants to. Ball will not roll back when he hits an obstacle like those lesser balls do. Amateurs.

And yet....

There's a certain inventiveness here. In most physics games, you'll set up your pathway or build your machine and then click "Start," watching your creation unfold in front of you without your direct interaction. Go Home Ball is delightfully and literally hands on in contrast, making you want to try a level just one more time, and then maybe once after that and then again besides until you haven't gone to work in three days.

The crisp bright graphics are pleasing, and the overall presentation is polished and slick. Dexterous players with quick reflexes will find Go Home Ball challenging yet enjoyable. However, I guarantee that at some point during your game you'll be unable to keep from yelling out (and you all knew this was coming, right? Right?) "Why you don't you just go home? That's your home! Are you too good for your home?"

Play Go Home Ball

33 Comments

I can't beat level 2 :)
I always run out of time, even when I feel nothing could run better. Strange...

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This is a great example of how a physics game should be treated. Adding the interesting music with the nice graphics and this game gets high marks from me.

I do wish that you could control when the ball was released, otherwise it's a solid game.

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Meh, I found the controls to be frustrating. Simple, sure, but the timing has to be too precise to enjoy, especially when switching tools.

Like, placing springs in exactly the right spot, but since it is "real-time", you have to start over from scratch, possibly messing up one you got correct previously. It might be nice if the game left a shadow or ghost of the previously placed items, to bring it more in line with a traditional physics game.

The "Start" button screen blocks a lot, making any attempt to beat a level on the first try nearly impossible.

Finally, there's no feedback on how the ball will start. One level shoots the ball way up, the next it rolls out with no force at all.

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carldec Author Profile Page June 3, 2009 1:27 PM

this was just terrible... nothing fun about something so slow and requiring such tedious precision. FAIL.

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drakono Author Profile Page June 3, 2009 1:37 PM

I agree with OverZealous. Plus it has a couple bugs that annoyed me.

Sometimes I hit 'r' to restart faster, but the game still loaded the fail screen after that. And once two messages are on the screen, you can't clear them both for some reason. So I had to refresh the page. My level progress was saved, but my score was reset. Oh well.

Also, I couldn't type my name in place of "Player" at the end.

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Way too buggy, far to many times I'd click to place a spring or log, but it wouldn't register or something and I'd have to try again.

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Pieter8888 Author Profile Page June 3, 2009 2:08 PM

I see many different opinions about this game.
So one thing is for sure: I'ts different.

Personally, I liked the game a lot. well... at least the idea. (I'll explain later)

The graphics are great and the music totally fits the game.
the so called "litephysics" work well for this game. so I don't know what everyone is complaining about.

anyhow, despite the relaxing music and a calming interface. Where this game goes wrong is that this is actually a FAST-PACED game.

The first 4 seconds of each level -before the ball rolls out- You'll have to plan what to do for the entire level (or at least as far as possible)
after the ball rolls out (or shoots out, even that is something you will have to consider in those first 4 seconds) you are only allowed to place ONE obstacle at a time, wait 2 seconds till it disappears, and place the next so the ball can roll on.

I prefer to have a vast number of items you can use, like only 2 springs in a level. this will make the game a lot less fast-paced as it is already.

So yeah, Go Home Ball is a fast-paced game in disguise.

Graphics: 5/5
Sound: 5/5
Gameplay 2/5
Overal 4/5

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Marach, where are you running out of time on Level 2? As long as you're placing your boards to where the ball always falls slightly onto them, instead of running into them, you won't lose any momentum. I just did it in seven seconds.

Does anybody have any clues for number 13? The cart won't flip the ball into the hole naturally, and I can't figure out how to both place the ramp plank and catch the cart at the end. Am I going about this the wrong way?

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drakono Author Profile Page June 3, 2009 2:17 PM

scottique:

Level 13 just requires you to push the ball twice, then place a stick. Nothing more. I think I got it on my second try. But now that you asked, I tried again, and it took me around 8 tries to get the cart to actually flip the ball towards the exit. It's very finicky.

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Drakono: I came to the same conclusion you did.

I placed the plank should-have-been-perfectly about a dozen times in a row, only to have the ball miss. And then, on the first attempt where I accidentally placed the board badly--misaligned to the right by about a mouse-width--that was the time the cart clattered in such a way that the ball went in. Finicky indeed.

This game is actually lasting me all afternoon, because I keep getting angry at it, closing it, and then lured back by the promise of soothing music and lovely graphics. It's providing little breaks from work, rather than eating a solid chunk of my afternoon like an escape would. So, hooray for that. :-)

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Dr. Worm Author Profile Page June 3, 2009 3:06 PM

When I saw this on the main page, the rating was only a 3.0, which is lower than I've ever seen for any game on here. I decided to try it out to see if it was really that bad.

In the little while that I played it, I actually really liked it. I made it to level 10 so far. It's true it's pretty hard, but if you keep trying, every level is possible. I thought the level design is good, as well as the graphics and music.

It's challenging and addicting, IMO.

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I expected the overall low rating on this game because it's one of those games that will polarize the community into two groups: Those that either love it or hate it due to the precision timing that's required.

Quintessential casual gamers, like myself, don't like that kind of pressure in the games we play, and will therefore give a very low rating as a result.

It's not that the game is bad, it's that they don't like to play games with that level of precision required. While others will eat it up. :)

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Good game, but the pacing needs some work.

Too short as well. The 24 levels are over in like 15 minutes, tops.

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@Marach I also run out of time on level 2. But I noticed if I had another app running, slowing down my PC, the ball rolled even less far....

So I think the timer is using real-time seconds, but the animation isn't... so that on a slower computer, the ball doesn't roll as far before time is up.

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There is one major flaw with level 20 of this game -- apparently, my computer doesn't run the flash as quickly as it's supposed to go, because despite doing exactly what the walkthrough shows, I always run out of time when the ball reaches the top platform - apparently because the moving platform isn't moving as quickly as it should be.

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Tonbury June 3, 2009 4:55 PM

My computer had the same problem with Level 20. Unfortunately this bug means I can't finish the game.

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brokenrecord Author Profile Page June 3, 2009 6:46 PM

After my 13th attempt at level 23, I think I'm about to call it quits. It's addictive, but not exactly "fun." If it saved my progress, maybe I'd come back, but now I'm petty much done.

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richmcd Author Profile Page June 3, 2009 6:56 PM

Strange. I didn't find it difficult or slow. And since I'm usually not very good at this sort of thing I wonder if it isn't running properly on some people's computers? I almost never came close to running out of time, for example.

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I like the game overall, however there is one aspect i really did not like: the short life time for the pieces allows for very little planning, which is how i operate in physics games, on the other hand, the fact that you have to play as it is going somehow offers a refreshing twist to the physics games already seen here on JIG.

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This wasn't fun for me, not really sure why. I think it's because the reward for beating each level isn't worth the mental strain I have to exert to plan out my action in five seconds... in some fast-paced game there's something that kind of lures you on level to level and I just was not lured. That's just me.

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This is one of the few games reviewed claiming of difficulty which I actually found quite easy. That was a nice surprise. Especially considering it is a physics game, which I tend to perform poorly. Most of the levels can be accomplished on the first play, with only a few levels needing several attempts (8 and 24 especially). The game is a wee bland in appearance, and there are a couple of bugs. The most notable one seems to be that restarting a level sometimes causes the fail box to pop up and refuse to go away.

Overall, a quick and easy physics game for those looking to kill a few minutes.

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Anestoh Author Profile Page June 4, 2009 12:59 AM

I'll have to agree with the couple of comments disagreeing with the difficulty. I really didn't have that much trouble until the last level which I had to replay several times to get right. It's frustrating when you know exactly what you have to do but you just can't get everything to go right. As for the rest of the levels, I didn't find them that challenging. And there really must be a problem for some of you, because I barely even knew there was a timer until the last level when I was messing around for too long on the level.

As for the quality, I didn't hate it like some of you, but it wasn't that..interesting of a game.it made me want to finish it but I never really felt like I was having..fun. i was just..doing something.

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fattywads Author Profile Page June 4, 2009 1:02 AM

wait, why is this a game? I dont get it. Its not a puzzle, its like a nerd's private life...

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Jasmine June 4, 2009 2:55 AM

For the life of me, I can't time the release on level 8 properly. Any help?

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Kate, I hereby give you +1000 awesome for the best reference in a review, ever.

Because that IS what I was thinking.

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Meep Maker June 4, 2009 10:11 AM

Level 8 is just killing me. The baskets don't always open like they should and its just hard to go from one to the other. There has to be a trick to this other than just luck.

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Tonatale Author Profile Page June 4, 2009 9:57 PM

I also spent 15 minutes on this game until the flash bug on level 20 made it impossible to finish. I think it actually could have been a fun game if it was fully playable.

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I played level two five times because every time I clicked to place the last stick, the game didn't register the click. Given the two-second life span of objects, you generally want to wait until the last second to place things, so you don't really have time to click again if it doesn't take. I could forgive the precision timing required, but you can't do that and have an unresponsive game at the same time.

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Just to straighten things out, the game is not unresponsive, it's just not telling you what the interference is. Each object lasts for two seconds and prevents you from placing another object till it disappears. On level 2, you're placing the first spring too late, and it's preventing you from placing the next one.

Understanding that makes the game a lot more playable, but it would have been a better design choice to just place any new object and erase the previous one. Or, of course, allow more than one object on screen at a time.

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JoshuaXD Author Profile Page June 5, 2009 6:22 PM

I'm with Venom on this one. I didn't find it so challenging, and I'm not usually good at physics-based games. I think the harder you think about and plan each level, the harder it is.

I didn't find it "high pressure" because I don't care what score I end up with. It isn't as if it does something obnoxious when you fail a round. Oh, I lost ten point, okay, lets try again. It didn't seem to require a huge amount of precision either. You seem to have a fair about of wiggle room as to where you place items and what angle you put the stick at.

And maybe my computer is pretty fast, but I found I had plenty of time for each level. I could even miss the first shot at a platform occasionally and still make it under time.

I actually like the trick that you can't place items until the last one is gone. You just have to adjust your timing a little, and not assume the last possible second is the best time to place an object.

My only complaints are the music - I turned the speakers off - and using R to restart. I've got one hand on the mouse and the other on the arrow keys, and then I have to hunt around for the R... How about the space key?

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JoshuaXD Author Profile Page June 5, 2009 6:58 PM

Oh! I just saw there is a Restart button - so scratch that complaint about "R".

Jay's comment about this game being too high-pressure for "quintessential casual gamers" struck me as off the mark. I mean, I don't play platformers of just about anything where you are shooting or being shot at because they are almost always too fast and high pressure for my taste. (Maybe I don't actually understand the "casual gamer" distinction, but I'm definitely not a "serious gamer" of any kind.)

I got to level 23 with a little over 1900 points. I don't know if that is a good score or a bad score, and I only noted it because of the comments on how hard the game was. After failing that level 20+ times, I decided I would play something else. It was a fun game, and I don't feel like I have to beat a game or place on some leader board to have fun.

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Perhaps my comment was off the mark, as you suggest, but I've always considered myself a casual gamer, well before even the advent of video games.

As such, I like to take my time to figure things out. I don't like time pressure, or having a small window within which to work (i.e., the 2 seconds each object exits after being placed in this game).

I would much rather play this game if I could place everything first, then click the "Go" button and watch the results. :)

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I can't pass Level 17. I feel like I can't control the speed of the ball so it keeps missing the basket. Help...any advice?

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