Spaceball: Revolution couldn’t be more different from Virtual Toys’ first mini, the award-winning Yummy Yummy Cooking Jam, which was a really silly but fun food-serving game. Spaceball: Revolution is much more of a straightforward puzzler in which the object of the game is to fill in shapes by throwing energy balls, rather than filling up tummies by throwing in burgers!
The game panel where all the action takes place is a nine-square cube with different colored panels around the outside edges. In the top left-hand corner of the screen, you’ll see a replica of the nine-square cube with a specific number of panels lit up. Your task is to replicate the shape in the larger square by throwing energy balls at the panels, all within a strict time limit.
Press X to throw the ball and switch a panel on, and X again at the same panel to switch it off. You can turn on multiple panels at a time by throwing the ball at the line in between them, or in the middle of four boxes to activate/deactivate all four.
Use the analog stick to move the pointer to select where you’re going to throw the energy ball, and hold down L and R when doing so to move the pointer faster. You can also use the directional buttons at the same time as holding down O to control the pointer more precisely or hold down Square when pressing the directional buttons to move the pointer a whole block.
The fewer balls you throw, the more likely you are to get a Perfect rather than just an ‘OK’, and the higher your score. But, the more obstacles in your path, the less time you’ll have to achieve perfection and the more happy you’ll be with just ‘OK’.
If you don’t manage to complete the shape before the time bar fills up, the game panel will fall further away from the screen, making it harder for you to throw the energy ball. If this happens three times, it’s game over. If you get another ‘Perfect’ though, the panel will move back up one space.
As you progress through the levels, obstacles such as large solid blocks will appear, and this is where it gets trickier. You have to bounce the energy ball off the walls of the cube to reach the squares underneath. If you don’t get it exactly right, you’ll activate or deactivate the wrong panel. I found it quite difficult to actually bounce the ball off onto the right square before the timer ran out, even in Easy mode.
There are two modes, Challenge and Free Play, and four difficulty levels: Easy, Normal, Advanced, and Master. I couldn’t see much difference between the two modes. In Free Play mode, all you have to do is keep going as far as you can through the levels, and you don’t get to save your high score. In Challenge mode you can save your game, and your high score, and that seems to be about it unless I’m missing something.
There are 15 levels in all, each with lots of different rounds to complete, so it should take you a long time to get through them if the game manages to hold your attention for that long.
As far as overall presentation goes, I love the vibrant colors in the game, and the music, as well as the fact that each of the difficulty levels has its own leaderboard, all neat touches that add to the generally polished look of the game. Other than that, it’s all a bit underwhelming, it has to be said. Competent, but underwhelming.
Obviously, some of the best games of all time, such as Tetris, have been very simple, but Spaceball: Revolution, as enjoyable as it is to play for a short time, just doesn’t have that all-important addictive playability factor that a game like Tetris has that keeps you returning time after time. And, it’s really expensive for what it is, at £3.99/€4.99. Still, if you like block puzzle games, you could do a lot worse.