Brian R. Smith

Writing stories about færies and demons 

Brian R. Smith

Mastery Journal

 

Full Sail University mobile gaming master's

Game Review: Ball Blast (Voodoo, 2018)

Genre:             Games, action

Roll in industry: Casual

Target Demographic: 12+

Monetization: Free app, advertising, in-game purchases, purchase for add free

 

 

My current favorite casual game is Ball Blast (Voodoo, 2018). Mechanically, the game is simple. Balls, of different sizes and numeric values, slide in from the left and right of your portrait phone or tablet. These fall to the ground and bounce. On the ground, as you slide your finger left and right, a small wheeled cannon shoots. Each hit decrements the numeric life-value of the ball. If the ball is not popped in time, it crashes into your cannon and you must start that level over again.

 

As you increase the capabilities of your cannon (shots per second, and damage per bullet) the numeric value of the balls increases. What is insidious, and keeps me casually entertained, is the automatic leveling of difficulty. Even when your cannon is spraying mega-death at all angles the level’s difficulty is automatically adjusted by increasing the numeric value of the balls which need to be popped. It never gets too hard, nor too easy.

 

Another example of the automatic leveling is the colors of the balls. Red (pictured) still has a lot of life left to them. Light green are nearly ready to pop. But, the color is based upon the strength of your cannon. Early in the game light green might be 10 points. Later, light green would represent a ball with 1000 points remaining. This allows the human to rapidly decide to duck and run to avoid being crushed, or stay and spray and hope to pop the ball before it lands.

 

For my Full Sail Uni capstone project, I would like to draw from the monetization strategy implemented by Ball Blast. I like the idea of a free app, with banner and pop-up advertising. But, as my games will be human versus human, the in-game purchases for power-ups will feed into the competitive spirit of the humans. An industry example would be the World of <XXX> (tanks, warships, etc.). The free-to-play versions are very capable. But, if you want power-ups as you go head-to-head against other humans these cost money – which people are willing to pay.

 

Voodoo. (2018). Ball Blast (Android) [Video game]. Paris France: Voodoo.