Eschewing the ball collision physics typical of the majority of CGDC4 entries, Carl Foust chose instead to focus on rotational inertia, friction, and center of gravity for his entry, Balancing Act, garnering high scores for its use of the Ball Physics theme. However, the real magic of the game lies in the intangible charm percolating throughout all its aspects, such as the lively pictograms, as well as the vibrant colors and clever variations on the balancing balls.
Here's another example. Are there any Monty Python's Flying Circus fans in the house? I know there's got to be a few of you. One of the recurring gags on the show was for one of the bunch to screw up the sketch — saying the wrong line, making a crude joke out of place, or some other such nonsense — and then an annoyed-sounding voiceover would cut in, saying "Start again."
What does this have to do with Balancing Act? Well, that's exactly how I felt when I failed a level. It was as if the frowny face was getting annoyed with me, and then using the pointing hand to say "Start again." Like the game was getting annoyed so I didn't have to! That bit of charm and others like it are what transform what should be a mind-numbing game of frustration into something — dare I say? — pleasant.
As the name suggests, Balancing Act requires you to keep a number of balls (and other ball-ish things) balanced on top of each other. Click on a ball and drag your mouse to rotate it, but remember that each action has an equal and opposite reaction! You can adjust the magnitude of your nudges by clicking closer to or farther from the center; like a lever arm, you'll apply different amounts of torque. If you're thinking all of this sounds like an exercise in aggravation, you would be correct, except for the quite improbable fact that it's simply not -- thanks in large part to the effort put into the visual and audio themes.
However, it still does take a bit of practice to get used to the dynamics of rotating the balls. You'll find yourself both over- and under-compensating until you get your balancing skills tuned j-u-u-u-ust right. It may take a while to pass the first level, but once you do, you'll be well-prepared to tackle the rest of the challenges.
Cheers to Carl for submitting another excellent game!
dancemonkey - Balancing Act is a well-produced game that truly takes the "ball physics" concept in a unique direction. The control scheme is natural and intuitive, though I think the game could have used a little more feedback to indicate what effect your movements were having on the... plates? In any case, I did enjoy the game to begin with but ultimately found it a bit repetitive. The challenge was heightened just by adding more and taller stacks to keep balanced, and it ultimately got more stressful than fun. A nicely done game that just doesn't stand up to repeated play.
John Beaver - With its highly original take on the theme, Balancing Act makes ball physics integral to both playing and beating the game. Whilst some may find the concept ultimately frustrating, others will feel compelled to keep trying until a level is beaten. The stylish and humorous presentation and simple control system are to be particularly commended in this worthy competition finalist.