Do 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.
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?"