Games centered around the sport of basketball seem to be making a comeback, and we're not talking about sports simulations, either. Titles like BasketBelle and Dude Perfect marry new mechanics to the old concept, creating experiences that are about as much like basketball as Homerun in Berzerk Land is like baseball. Now, Solipskier creator Mikengreg has released Gasketball, a physics-heavy mobile arcade game that's all about shooting and scoring baskets under some unusual circumstances. How unusual? Try reverse gravity triggers, teleportation platforms, pinball bumpers, and sawblades!
Each level in Gasketball places a number of platforms and obstacles on the screen, all standing between the ball and the goal. By tapping the ball and dragging your finger you can toss it from its starting point, sending it bouncing through the level to cause destruction, gain points, and hopefully swish through the net. It's not too dissimilar from pinball, only the focus is squarely on tightly controlled accuracy and perfect shots. You are given five balls to use for each section of a stage. Go over that limit and you'll severely hurt your score. If you manage to earn gold stars in every level for a section, you'll unlock some nice bonuses. Getting the gold, though, isn't something you'll be able to do right away. Or after a few days of practice!
Stages begin with one of the screen's obstacles surrounded by a red aura. When tossing the ball, make sure it hits that object first, otherwise the shot won't count. After that, you just have to figure out how hard to throw the ball and in which direction. Easy, right? Refereeing the whole game is a flying robot equipped with tutorial text and a sharp-firing laser. Most of the time he's just in the way, but if you find a shot didn't go as you planned, you can give it a tap and the robot will clear the board so you can start again. As you probably guessed, you'll be deploying that ability on a frequent basis!
Analysis: Gasketball is crazy amounts of fun. Its depth mainly comes from finely-tuned physics and learning to get your shots just right. It takes a steady hand to throw in the right direction with the appropriate force, a skill you can only master after many, many failed shots. Trial and error gives way to competence, allowing you to go back, replay previous levels, and aim for a better score. Replays are always fun in this game, as no shot follows the same path as the one before!
There are dozens of stages in Gasketball, and while the layouts don't vary too much, there are enough differences to make each shot a new learning experience. Single player modes include the main game along with practice mode, a blank canvas sort of section where you can build screen layouts to be as brutal as you wish. Multiplayer is also included, featuring a game of horse that allows you to challenge opponents with your own setup, and a quick round of local split screen one-on-one.
Gasketball is creative, it's whimsical, and it's so very much fun. The main download includes a handful of free levels, the rest of which can be unlocked via in-app purchases. There's plenty of space allotted for future updates, including new modes, new bonuses, and additional stage packs. Gasketball may not revolutionize mobile gaming, but it will keep you thoroughly engaged for hours upon hours!