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cover-Bang-On Balls: Chronicles

Saturday, October 7, 2023 11:07:05 PM

Bang-On Balls: Chronicles Review ({SC(+)PE})

TL;DR -- This game is fun. Pure fun. Which is something that a lot of other games don't quite accomplish.
I am not saying that other games aren't satisfying or enjoying to play, but in a lot of cases, I don't think the satisfaction comes from the games actually being fun. To name a few examples: the satisfaction of competitive team-based games, like DotA 2 or Overwatch 2, come from you working with your team to complete a designated objective before an opposing team does by hindering their progress. The satisfaction of survival horror games like Resident Evil 2, 3, 4, 7, or 8 comes from careful planning, proper resource scavenging/management, and staying calm in stressful situations in order to dominate larger-than-life threats that are only looking to oppress you. The satisfaction of battle royals, like PUBG or Apex Legends, is some combination of the two previous mentioned genres. The satisfaction of puzzle games like The Room series or Escape Simulator has little-to-no relevance to the story, and comes from the mastering of mechanics and using your wit to outsmart and solve the obstacles laid before you. On the flip side, Point & Click Adventure games, such as just about anything made by LucasArts or TellTale Games, have hardly any relevant mechanics to speak of and the satisfaction comes from seeing a long and endearing journey meet its conclusion after hanging on for the entire ride from beginning to end. And with MMO games, the satisfaction comes from filing for bankruptcy after maxing out at least 3 credit cards on shiny armor and weapons that inflate artificial numbers to impossible degrees solely because the human brain likes seeing big numbers and shiny objects.
Bang-On Balls: Chronicles is different. The mechanics are very bare-bones, with the only real actions that you need to take note of are jumping, dashing, and stomping. The story is practically non-existent, with no real dialogue in the game at all and the entire premise being found on this game's store page. Since everything from you, to your enemies, to the neutral living beings in each of the world are all... balls... there are no larger-than-life threats that are generally any more intimidating than you are (with the exception of the boss fights which are all on a much grander scale and are super over-the-top) at any given moment. There are some decent puzzles in the game, but none of them ever felt unfair or cheap, and can generally be solved by looking around, paying attention to your environment, and utilizing your three main moves that I mentioned earlier.
But beneath all of these elements of the game, which are more matter-of-fact aspects rather than nitpicking complaints about this game, is an open world adventure that is just... fun. This game doesn't hold your hand, but that also means it doesn't drag you along or drag you down any paths you don't want to go. You are fully free to explore, fight, observe, find, collect, and most importantly, enjoy. This is a game that gives you everything you need to enjoy it, and is open enough to allow you to find and express that enjoyment in any way you see fit. It allows you to find whichever tools and cosmetics in its open world that you are daring enough to reach, and rewards you with those items by letting you spend the in-game currency that you've earned through having fun in this game on them, and never punishes you by making you spend any real money (yes, ABSOLUTELY NO MICROTRANSACTIONS, as promised by the developers) or making you doubt your choice in selecting one cosmetic over another at a given time. The maps are large and vast enough that you always find yourself discovering something new until you get 100% map completion, and the pacing of the game is steady enough that you can go as fast as you want with the balls-a-blazing combat strategy or you can take it nice and slow as you take in and appreciate the in-game worlds that were obviously designed with intention, passion, and fun in mind.
And I think that's the key. This game was designed to be fun. It was designed with enjoyment in mind. And that fact alone is what separates the satisfaction of this game from the satisfaction of others.
If you feel the need for some comparison to relate to what this game is like, I would say it's a cross between Supraland and Spyro Reignited, but with much less of a story than either of those two games. But this comparison still doesn't really do it justice. If you want to do this game justice, and if you really do want to just have fun with a game, pick this one up. I'd bet that it will make you smile at one instance or another, just like it made me smile.