America - Front
America - Back
By ssj12 19th Jan 2009 | 2,095 views
Some classic games have trouble translating into 3D. Time and time again we have seen developers taking a classic game and trying to reinvent it for the modern gamer. Of course while most aren't failures they haven't been as good as the originals. This is where Magic Ball comes in. Magic Ball is a game that takes the traditional breakout or block-breaking genre and shows that it can be taken from a 2D plain and evolved to take on 3D.
The controls haven't evolved much since the first breakout game 20 years ago. Move your paddle left and right to stop the ball from hitting the bottom of the screen. When the ball nears let it hit at a specific angle to allow it to be sent in any direction you want. You can also increase the amount of speed behind the ball if you ram the paddle into the ball.
The gameplay has held on to its traditional style quite well. You hit your ball, in this case a soccer ball, into all of the objects on the screen while attempting to making sure the ball doesn't move past your paddle. As the ball bounces around there is a chance power-ups will drop. There are both good and bad power-ups. Some will make your ball do more damage to the objects you're smashing, others will make it harder for you to win or even make you lose a life. Overall though there aren't any hindrances to the gameplay. The bounce physics on the ball are perfect, your paddle's hit radius doesn't have a gap that will let the ball slip through a non-existent gap at the edges, and all of the destructable objects react perfectly when hit.
One bonus feature is the addition of online play. While the gameplay is no different from other multiplayer versions of previous breakout titles, in that you're able to go online and play with random strangers, it is a very fun experience, particularly when you get the higher score in a level.
The environments are the special gem of the gameplay. Objects can, and most of the time will, fall on top of each other. In the pirate theme, if you destroy the island below the pirate bases, rubble will tumble over into the water. There are many hidden elements to the maps too, cannons for example can be used as extra fire power against objects when you hit a ball into them.
As one can easily suspect, there is no story to this game. You have to wonder how you could even wrap a story around this type of game. Still, there are a few game themes to choose from. The first is pirate themed while the second is knight themed. There is also an extra bubble for future DLC themes. Each level of each stage is themed based on whichever you choose to play. Even the minor details are there, from pirate chests for the pirate theme and dragons for knights theme. There are even traditional folklore based creatures in the levels like the Kraken. Each game theme consists of 24 levels.
Taking a look at the visual presentation of the game you will see that the game is quite well rendered considering the amount of stuff that is on screen at once. Even when you rip apart the center of a hill or island and a structure collapses into the newly made gorge, there isn't a single framerate hitch to speak of. Everything from the pirates, knights, and random creatures to the environmental objects are finely detailed. The audio is above average, there's nothing spectacular about the music or the sound effects, but they are what you would expect from a game in this genre. There is nothing truly out-of-the-ordinary.
The game's only issue is its length. While it theoretically has near infinite replay value given how many ways you can complete a level, it will only take about a 4 hours to beat a game theme. This means that in order to complete the game it will take you maybe 15 hours, and that includes 100% trophy collection. In the end though you have a traditional game in a 3D environment. This type of game doesn't appeal to a lot of people due to the repetitive nature of the gameplay, and no matter how you look at it all you do is destroy everything you can on screen with your ball and collect power-ups over and over again. For fans of the genre this game can total many hours of enjoyment, and it can be replayed thousands of times without ever beating a level in the same way.