Hooray for manageable elastic! irRegular Games has released Sproing Reloaded, a sequel to Sproing, which was featured in a previous Link Dump Friday. For those of you who have difficulties getting a paddle ball to work for more than one or two hits, this is a much less frustrating choice.
Like in the previous Sproing game, you control a small dot, on which an attached elastic line holds a large blue ball. Moving the mouse around the playing area pulls the ball as well, but with a bit of whiplash-like action. The faster you jerk the mouse, the faster you can whip the ball around. On each level are blue circles which need to be destroyed by hitting them with your blue ball-on-a-string. However, you can't just idle around and let the circles come to you, your ball has to be moving at a great enough speed to eliminate them.
But there's a catch! (Because what game about balls would be complete without a catch?) Solid yellow, orange, and red balls enter the playing field periodically, and they are not your friend! Avoid these balls as much as you can, because hitting them reduces your health level. Luckily, you have three weapons at your disposal, which can freeze the balls, make you invincible, or wipe them off the screen completely. A pause screen in between each level lets you buy these power-ups, as well as the ability to tweak your ball's performance and restore health.
Analysis: While Sproing Reloaded brings a fresh look at the elastic-ball-on-a-string game, it must be noted that a lot of level designs from the previous Sproing have carried over almost identically. Still, this doesn't make anything any easier, as you'll still find yourself struggling to survive to the next level, only to find you've painted yourself into a corner, and the red balls are blocking every way out.
The simple "primary colors on black" design makes the game easy to look at, but one must wonder how irRegular Games decided upon their music. There are eight or so short loop-ish pieces, which individually sound fine, but when selected at random and played back-to-back (as the game does), it becomes a little disorienting to hear the conflicting styles and tempos go back and forth without any warning.
Music and familiarity aside, Sproing Reloaded brings a good mix of simple physics gaming that's hard to master, 30 achievements to keep you coming back for more, and a bit of quirky humor to show you the author's personality. And if nothing else, it beats those darned paddle balls.