Ball Revamped 5: Synergy
Plenty complicated, it turns out, in this absurdly fun and addictive game from John Cooney and his prolific jmtb02 studios. What sets Ball Revamped 5: Synergy apart from other physics-based games is how well-executed each element of the game is; the ball responds beautifully to the lightest of touches, the levels constantly change themes and add in new and creatively frustrating obstacles, and the controls are simple and self-explanatory.
The structure of the game is simple: 10 levels of increasing difficulty, based on a common motif, is followed by a "maze" in which the player finds the portal to the next set of 10. What keeps this from becoming repetitive is the constant introduction of clever and often confounding twists in the form of little, harmless-looking stars floating in the levels. Passing over those stars may turn your ball into a rock (with the corresponding increase in "weight"), a bomb or a daisy, surround the ball with a pool of water or start a fierce wind blowing. Expect to die. A lot. The game helpfully keeps track of your number of deaths—I'm up to 33!—and once in a while will even reward you with cheerfully-worded "achievements" celebrating a particularly egregious string of failures.
Analysis: This game is some serious fun, a simple concept dressed up with some ingenious ideas and a lovely dose of humor. My only criticism is that a few of the levels are a bit too difficult and may cause some players to quit out of frustration. Right now I'm stuck at level 53, trying to get my rock-ball to make it over a spike without hitting the ceiling, and it's just not gonna happen. Unfortunately, if after another few (read: few hundred) tries I don't make it, I may have to move on.
For those of you who do finish, however, you may be pleased to find available a full-featured level editor nestled within the game's main menu. Use it to create and share entirely new levels of your own design to confound and frustrate your friends with. Replay. Ball physics. Hmm, recognizing a theme here? ;) Prepare to be addicted.
Check out other games in the Ball Revamped series.