Friday, February 02, 2007

Blue Ball

Title: Blue Ball
Author: H.Yamaguchi
License: Freeware (I think, I cannot read Japanese)

One of my favorite freeware gaming sites is One problem for me is that the site is in Czech, but I have made due. It does not require a PhD to figure out that Logicke means logic. Then using the screen shots, I have found some good games over the years. Recently, they started an English version of their website which is wonderful for us English only folks. They have not translated every description yet, but they seem to be working on it.

I found this week's game, Blue Ball, going through the English listings at It is a simple little logic game which lacks polish, but contains some good puzzles. The goal is simultaneously fill each of the end tiles (indented tile with a small blue dot) with one of the blue balls. The controls are simple, the four arrow keys. Hitting an arrow key moves all of the balls one space in that direction unless the ball bumps up against a wall or other unmovable block.

Solving most levels comes down to figuring out how to get the correct separation, both horizontally and vertically, between the balls. The walls allow you to move some of the balls while keeping the others fixed. However, you have to make sure that none of your balls falls into an void tile, never to be seen again.

There are several special tiles which add additional complication to the game. The red blocks can be pushed around so long as there is an empty tile at the end of the row. Things can be hidden under red blocks. This comes into play in a couple of the levels. The yellow blocks can also be pushed about. They also fill voids when pushed into one, forming a bridge. The blue blocks act as locked doors. The keys are the small blue topped pyramids. There are breakable tiles. One type can only be walked on (rolled on?) once; the other can withstand two transversals. Finally, the tiles with arrows on them restrict which direction a ball can move off them.

Blue Ball contains 64 levels. They are arranged in eight groups of eight. Once you complete five levels a group, the next group of eight levels becomes available to play. The quality of levels is a mixed bag. Some are quite easy, others quite hard. Some are just plain annoying. One level contains three blue blocks, but the blue pyramids are hidden under red blocks. You have to find them. I actually have not finished all 64. Assuming that you can solve five out of eight levels, you can skip the annoying ones.

Beside the arrow keys, the only other keys you need are the space bar and escape key. The space bar toggles between the level selection screen and the levels. Hit it twice when you mess up and want to restart. The escape key exits the game.

It is easy to find faults with the blue ball: poor level quality and pacing, weak graphics and sound, general lack of polish, and no level editor. But, I suggest you overlook all this. There are some good puzzles mixed in here. And, it is free. Well, I think it is free. I cannot read Japanese, so I cannot be sure. Why not play it?


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