Review: Spinballs, by Christian Gross
Spinballs, by Christian Gross
• Fast paced, gets to be frantic!
• Strategy can play a role
• Only one game mode
• Controls are not intuitive
• Colors move around on the balls
• Sometimes you don’t need to move the dials at all
In the interest of full disclosure, I received a promo code to review this app. Spinballs is a new game by Christian Gross, a puzzle/strategy game that combines an element of speed/frantic activity. In Spinballs, the goal is to line up balls that are the same color on a series of 7 dials. When three or more balls are lined up, you can make them vanish, filling their place in with new balls. The more balls that are connected, the more points you get. Simple concept, but throw in a timer that keeps winding down (it only stops when you are making balls vanish) and you suddenly get a game where you can get a little frantic.
The game concept itself is fun. You can try to use strategy (to a limited degree – see below) to try to maximize the points, and at the same time locating the balls to try and fill up the various “bonus” buttons – double points, shift all the colors, atomize (destroys balls) and the timer (I am not sure what it does, but it might slow down the timer). However, there is only one game mode – a timed, frantic, “do as many as you can” game play. There is no long term endurance mode, not multiplayer mode. Because of this, the game got a little stale after playing it a few times.
The graphics are very nicely done, and look very good on the retina iPhone 4 display. The controls, while passable, are not very intuitive. Despite having a nice touch screen display, you can only move the dials by tapping – tap on the left side of the dial and the dial moves one click counter clockwise. Tap on the right side and it moves one click clockwise. It would seem very intuitive to actually spin or twist the dials with your fingers, but you can’t do that.
Along the same vein, sometimes you can just play by not moving dials at all – the balls (due to random placement) will automatically create chains of 4 to 8 balls (once I get 10 balls in a row randomly) and so you can just keep tapping the “remove” button without even really playing. Truthfully, this is one of the ways I got my highest scores, because I never had to worry about time running out. One reason this was possible is because if you remove some of the balls from a dial, ALL the remaining balls can switch colors. This makes it difficult to build a long term strategy – instead you are mostly just relying on luck (what balls colors may appear after you remove some).
All in all this was a fun, but limited game. There were some clear flaws, but despite these it was still enjoyable to play. The graphics are nice, and the game play, while limited, can build up a nice level of excitement/frantic activity. Many of the problems are game play or control issues that might be addressed in future releases. At $1.99, the price isn’t prohibitive, but I would generally expect a similar game to be about $0.99. Three out of five stars.
* = No redeeming qualities or features, probably not worth it even if it is free
** = Few redeeming qualities, or is simply isn't worth the price
*** = Some good features but also some clear flaws.
**** = A solid app, worth the money if interested, a few flaws or problems or slightly overpriced
***** = Top of the line app, no problems or drawbacks.
Price is factored into the ratings. Ratings are lowered if I feel the price of the app outweighs the benefits/enjoyment/features it provides. Likewise, an app that is a good value for the money will have a higher rating. Please comment on these reviews. If you own the app, tell me what your opinion is. If the review prompted you to buy (or not buy) the app, let me know why. If you want more information about the app, go ahead and ask.