You’re a red ball having witnessed the kidnap of your girlfriend and so on a quest to save her, it’s game narrative 101 but does Red Ball 3 do enough to keep you playing this noble quest?
Chillingo have an affinity with iPhone games. With a growing catalogue of hugely addictive and polished titles, many of which are deemed some of the best around, the name Chillingo holds a lot of weight. Red Ball 3 doesn’t quite live up to that legacy but it’s not far off. The simplicity of the mechanics are accounted for, as well as tons of well designed, challenging levels but the harsh physics and design choices can make it feel overly frustrating.
Rescuing your girlfriend requires you to roll and jump through various levels rife with obstacles, combating physics and solving basic puzzles with levers and switches, transversing things like seesaw bridges over sheer drops. It’s platforming at its best, simple yet challenging jumping puzzles. However, being a ball has its problems. Momentum can lead to you flying off ledges, whilst lack of momentum can lead to falling short on jumps, and the jumps themselves are a little tricky due to a slight delay. There purposely implemented design choices both work to create the unique challenge and cause the frustration of repeat failures; your job it to balance these factors as carefully as you balance the red ball.
The momentum can be almost completely forgiven as it’s a core part of the game experience, but the delay to the jump is less forgivable. Sure, it promotes a steeper challenge and more precise timing, adding to the thrill of success if you do indeed succeed, but in the end it just becomes annoying.
However, despite the frustration of the controls, you’ll certain find yourself coming back to Red Ball 3, compelled to complete those tricky levels and see what the next has in store. It’s satisfying to overcome the challenge and rewarding to collect as many of the three stars on each level as you can.
It’s the classic Chillingo setup but one of their less appealing titles. It’s not a bad game by any stretch but it’s not the best they have on offer either.
MLG Rating: 7/10
Platform: iOS Release Date: 16/03/11
Disclosure: Midlife Gamer were provided a digital copy of Red Ball 3 for review purposes by the promoter. The title was reviewed over the course of one week on an iPhone. For more information on what our scores mean, plus details of our reviews policy, click here.