Swinging Ball is a new, fun little flash title developed by Gimme5games. Any guesses as to what you might control? That's right, a swinging ball! It's a fairly simple ball-physics game, much as we've seen before in which your goal is to guide the ball through a series of obstacles to the exit. What makes Swinging Ball noteworthy is the implementation of a grapple-like rope that you can use to latch onto surfaces and swing around like Tarzan.
Control the ball by using either the [arrow] keys or [A] and [D] to move left and right, respectively. At the same time, your mouse controls an on-screen cursor to aim the rope. Click to shoot and the grapple will launch out of your ball (only up to a maximum length) and latch onto any green surfaces. As long as you're still holding the mouse button down, you'll stay connected until you release. Most of the wire-frame levels are created with gray surfaces that are safe to roll on, and the occasional red spikes that you'll want to avoid. Exits are yellow; all you've got to do is touch any portion of the yellow lines with your ball to beat the level. (To help you find them, the arrow in your ball always points to the exits like a compass.)
Much of the thrill in Swinging Ball is using the rope to navigate the obstacles. In early levels you'll just have to swing around a bit, Spiderman-style. As levels progress, you'll find bigger, more complex environments—often with moving components—that will require launching yourself up, down and around with your rope. Many of the green surfaces you'll need to use are variously-shaped, rotating "pivots," for lack of a better term. If you latch your rope onto them with enough slack, they will slowly wind you up until the tension reaches critical, whipping you around with enough momentum so you can launch yourself across big distances.
Analysis: Unless you're a fan of wire-frame graphics, it's pretty obvious that the majority of fun to be had in Swinging Ball comes from the gameplay alone. The physics as a whole—not just the ball, but the spatial aspects as well—feel accurate and gratifying. Launching yourself from the aforementioned rotating pivots is great fun, as well as navigating through some pretty well-designed levels. The action could benefit from a minor speed boost; rolling the ball back and forth feels a bit sluggish at times. The game also seems to utilize quite a bit of memory, so you'll want to make sure you play it without many programs or browser windows open if your system is struggling with the FPS. Your progress is auto-saved throughout the four level tiers; easy, medium, hard and insane. There's even a level editor available to create your own levels once you master the rest. Overall, it's a commendable effort in the ball-physics genre with an innovative, addicting gimmick.