Tuesday, January 22, 2008


Another fun one! Color-matching ball games are always fun, right? Same GNOME is one of those. Simple to learn and hard to master, it's definitely comes from a casual-game background, rather than the logic-puzzle or strategy camps that have been the norm so far.

Or maybe they just seem to be the norm because I got so mad at them; regardless, this one's decent. The field of play is a grid, completely filled with balls of three different, randomly-distributed colors. You click on a ball that touches another ball of the same color, and all the balls they're connected to of the same color vanish (think Puzzle Bobble). The more you take out at once, the higher your score. The goal is to get a high score; the game is over when all the balls are gone, or there are no more possible moves.

The playfield has three sizes: small, medium, and large. At the default (small) setting, it's easy to take in the whole board at once, and come up with some kind of strategic approach to clearing them. Upping the size of the playfield offers exponentially increased complexity and game-length. I had more fun at the smallest setting, most likely due to the fact that I am not very bright (if this blog has taught me anything, it has taught me that).

Visually, the default tileset is an appealing collection of orbs, coming in red, green, and blue. The other tileset that 'ships' with the game is called 'Planets' and it's neat in theory. Rather than three colors, there are three planets; I'm thinking they're Earth, Mars, and the Moon (but I'm no astronomer, and also not very bright (see above)). They look just similar enough to make everything seem chaotic to the eye, and I couldn't bear to play more than one game with them. Since whichever mass of balls you have your mouse over revolves, that effect was quite neat with the 'Planets' tileset, but couldn't make up for the busy-ness that made it suck to play.

The only button used to play is the left mouse button, and it's easy to get the hang of. Same GNOME has that addictive, "I know I could do better than that next time," play experience that all casual games shoot for. I call this one a success.

1 comment:

Pieter said...

I think the "red" planets are Jupiters, you can spot their "red-eye" storm in the center when they rotate.