Move over, Angry Birds, there’s a new game in town. That’s right, Ball Smash!, a new game that also involves launching brightly colored objects to smash other brightly colored objects, is destined to make Angry Birds look positively boring.
Ball Smash! is a game that launched last month in the iTunes App Store, the Android Market, and the Amazon App Store. The app is universal and works equally well on the iPad and smartphones. As with Angry Birds, the purpose of the game is to smash objects, but the objects of Ball Smash! are brightly colored balls, not agitated birds and snickering pigs.
Ball Smash! is easy to learn, the concept is simple. The game begins with a grid of either 9×9, low resolution recommended for smaller screens, or 11×11, high resolution recommended for larger screens. Different colored balls line the sides of the grid with target balls resting in the middle the grid. To smash a ball, you launch a ball from the side of the grid towards the middle. If the launched ball is the same color as the target ball, both balls will smash. If the balls are different colors, both balls remain on the board. You earn points by smashing balls.
You can only launch a ball from the sides if there is a ball in the center to hit. For example, in the screen below, you can’t launch any green balls because they are in columns and rows that are empty.
The object of the game is to clear the board of all the balls in the center. Once you have achieved that goal, you move up a level. At Levels 3, 6, 9 and 12, new ball colors are added with higher points.
The sound effects of the balls smashing is really cool. It’s easy to turn the sound off, but leave it on if you can to enjoy the full Ball Smash! experience.
While this game is simple to learn, the strategy involved in playing this game can be fascinating and challenging. The game is easy when you launch a ball directly into another ball of the same color. But when there are no apparent moves, as with the board above, you need to plan how you are going to arrange the balls to smash them. For example, if you launch the purple ball on the right side of the grid, it will stop in the center at the upper blue ball. You can then launch the purple ball at the bottom to smash the purple ball in the center.
What’s really fun is to plan ahead and devise strategies several moves out. As the grid gets more full with balls, which happens at the higher levels, you can devise clever ways to clear out the balls.
The game continues until you have a grid full of balls with no moves left to make.
As carefully as you strategize, your plans can change abruptly based upon which colored ball appears next. After you launch a ball, you have no idea which colored ball will take its place. You can have the most complex strategy devised, but then a new ball appears that changes everything.
You can get into a Zen mode with this game. The game encourages you to take risks. When you make the moves the game seems to want, the game flows beautifully. The colors you wish for appear and then you’re clearing the board with ease. But then you make a move that seems to stop the game in its tracks. One move and then nothing seems to work. You don’t even see a move in the distant future. That’s when you study the board closely to see what moves you may have missed.
The center is the best place on the grid, giving you the most options for smashing. The edges of rows and columns are risky because balls placed there block a lot of moves. But Balls Away! seems to want you to take risks and often will give you the colors you want if you play the edge moves.
Having one ball left on the grid can be the easiest or the most difficult board to have. If the colors line up, one shot will win the level. If the colors don’t line up, you can have a struggle getting rid of the one ball. I’ve lost the game after having only one ball left on the board.
I don’t want to give you too many hints about how to play the game as it’s fun to discover the strategies yourself!
Since this game was just launched in October, you may be wondering how I can call this my favorite game ever. That’s not a lot of time to develop enough affection for a game to make such a bold claim.
In truth, I have been playing this game for nearly eight years, since early 2004. This game was available for PC’s and Palm Pilots under the title Balls Away! When I transferred from my Palm Pilot to my iPhone, I asked the developer to bring the game to the iPhone. My peskiness paid off because last month the developer granted my wish and launched the game as Ball Smash! Imagine my delight as I read the email from the developer with the news (though my husband was a bit disappointed that we hadn’t won the lottery as my screams of joy would indicate).
Give It a Go!
If my passion for this game hasn’t convinced you to cough up 99¢ to purchase Ball Smash!, no worries. You can check out the game for free. A Lite version of the game that lets you play the game up to Level 4 is available in the iTunes App Store, Android Market and the Amazon App Store.
Here are the links for Ball Smash!
Do you enjoy puzzle and strategy games? Have you ever had a favorite game that you quit playing because the device you played on became obsolete? Let us know in the Comments section below!