A downloadable game for Mac, PC, and Linux, Fizzball is the latest game from Matt Parry and Ryan Clark of Grubby Games—who gave us the perfectly adorable Professor Fizzwizzle. It was described to me as "a combination between Breakout, Arkanoid, and Katamari Damacy," which pretty much makes it compulsory playing.
All the features of great brick-breaking games are there—power-ups, unbreakable objects, tricks to manipulate the ball without hitting it—with an added requirement of needing to rescue all the animals on each level. Yes, animals. As you hit the ball over objects such as apples and coins, the ball will collect the objects and get bigger. When it gets big enough you can collect animals ranging from bluebirds right up to elephants!
As the game advances, the stakes are upped by including targets that you should not hit, like drums of toxic waste, and the need to fight off an alien infestation. On the way, you can pick up trophies such as Chicken or the Egg (by picking up a chicken before picking up one of its eggs), play bonus levels with all sorts of various requirements and, on the kid's level, answer mini-quizzes about animals, some of which are surprisingly hard. (Which animal do you think is called a "zeal" in a group?)
Analysis: This game is gorgeously animated and illustrated, with a fun storyline and great gameplay. The one problem I had with it, and it's a big one, is that the Regular mode takes a long time to ramp up in difficulty. Unlike BreakQuest, where each level is very distinct, all of the levels looked and felt pretty similar—I never got that feeling of "ooh! I love this level!" Having said that, you can pick up your saved game whenever you feel like it, so if it all gets a bit boring you can go and do some real work and come back to it later. The demo lasts for 60 minutes, after which you have to buy the full version to keep playing.
Jay adds: Fizzball is a joy to play for people of all ages, and yet it is very apparent the care and attention to detail that went into creating an especially delightful experience for younger game players. That being said, I had a ball playing this game! Perhaps because I am a kid at heart, or even that I'm a casual gamer to the core, the simple, light-hearted gameplay won me over immediately. The Katamari influence is especially nice since it becomes quite satisfying when the ball reaches critical mass and the animals begin to get sucked up into the bubble all at once. I also enjoyed trying to earn all the trophies in the game, and I still have a few more to go.
- The name and description of one of the trophies, or
- The question and answer from one of the kids' quiz screens.
Only the first comment posted for each trophy and for each quiz question will be eligible for the drawings, so be sure to download the demo and play straight away. And please, only one entry per person, and per email address. Click.
Update: The contest is over. Congratulations to Manders, Pladin, Slgalt, HopefulNebula, and Gamzu for all winning full versions of Fizzball courtesy of Ryan and Matt of Grubby Games. Thanks to everyone for participating!! =)