Roll up, roll up – it’s time to dive into the whimsical world of Bang-On Balls: Chronicles! This quirky 3D platformer comes bouncing onto the scene from developer Exit Plan, bringing with it oodles of oddball charm and delightfully chaotic gameplay.
In Bang-On Balls, you play as Bob, an eager intern at the famous Bang-On Studios. Bob might just be a simple sphere with eyes, but he’s got big dreams of making it in showbiz. To get his shot at stardom, Bob will need to leap, dash and slam his way through various movie sets that transport him to different points in human history. From clashing with Vikings and pirates to taking part in the space race, Bob’s cinematic adventures promise plenty of hysterical hijinks.
With its wacky premise and even wackier cast of spherical characters, Bang-On Balls clearly aims to capture the playful spirit of classics like Banjo-Kazooie and Super Monkey Ball. Developer Exit Plan loads up Bob’s globe-trotting journey with tons of items to collect, secrets to uncover, and physics-based platforming challenges to conquer. Along the way, players can deck out Bob with all kinds of absurd costumes and accessories, letting you fashion him as everything from a futuristic robo-warrior to a chicken-riding Valkyrie.
In this review, we’ll roll through Bang-On Balls’ madcap multiplayer modes, analyze how its charming art direction brings its worlds to life, and see whether its gameplay has enough depth beyond the initial novelty. Is Bang-On Balls a fresh new spin on 3D platformers, or does it quickly lose steam like a faulty hamster wheel? Stick around as we crack open this quirky title to see if it’s worth taking for a spin.
Bouncing, Bashing, and Busting Heads in Bang-On Brawls
At its core, Bang-On Balls keeps its spherical protagonist rolling along with a familiar set of 3D platformer moves. Players primarily control Bob by holding down the right trigger to speedily roll around environments. Bob’s moveset also includes a bouncy double jump for accessing higher platforms and a slamming dash attack for bopping baddies. These simple abilities give Bob adequate mobility for traditional jumping and climbing challenges. However, Bang-On Balls’ levels truly shine when they embrace Bob’s ball-ness and get creative with physics.
Bob’s dash can smash through many of the breakable objects scattered around levels, allowing for delightful destruction that uncovers secrets. Chaining dashes together to wreck rows of vases or shatter walls reveals the developer’s attention to detail in making the environment fully reactive. Bob also handles like his spherical shape would suggest, with an appropriate sense of weight and momentum as he rolls off ledges or collides with enemies. This physics-based traversal lends levels an enjoyable sense of tactile reactivity compared to the floaty feel of some older platformers.
That said, Bang-On Balls’ platforming segments stay relatively basic, avoiding extreme tests of precision. The game doles out generous checkpoints, ensuring the penalty for slipping up mid-jump or botching a puzzle remains low. Instead, the true test comes from the game’s combat. When baddies appear, Bob must utilize that dash attack to bonk them around and whittle down their health. Early on, these scuffles prove simple as mindlessly bashing enemies does the trick. But later levels introduce shielded foes, ranged attackers, and other complications that force more thoughtful positioning and aim with Bob’s strikes. The addition of equippable weapons like boomerangs, hammers, and elemental staves provide another wrinkle of strategy.
Still, Bang-On Balls stops short of offering deeply strategic battles. Combat relies more on manic energy as Bob ping-pongs between mobs of enemies in enclosed spaces. Rambunctiously smashing through hordes of baddies channels the childlike joy of crashing toy cars together. There’s just something immensely satisfying about sending enemies careening wildly off of cliffs or into each other with a well-aimed strike. The fluidity and feedback of bashing feels snappy and responsive. Combat scenarios end up suitably frantic, though a bit button-mashy at heart.
Sprinkled between the platforming and combat are environmental puzzles and quests that provide extra variety. These activities range from herding livestock back into pens to rerouting power in ancient machinery. Figuring out their solutions provides some light head-scratching to change up the pace. Ultimately though, Bang-On Balls banks on its gameplay being just pure, goofy fun rather than intensely challenging. There’s plenty here to keep players bouncing around levels happily, but not always a ton of depth. Still, the overall gameplay loop proves infectious and makes guiding Bob through his movie misadventures a rollicking good time.
Globetrotting Through History in Cinematic Game Worlds
One of the standout qualities of Bang-On Balls is the sheer variety and creativity of its levels. Each themed world transports players to a different period in human history, reimagined with the game’s silly sensibilities. From clashing with Vikings to competing in the space race, Bob’s missions take him on a globetrotting tour through some of history’s most fascinating eras.
The medieval Europe world exemplifies Bang-On Balls’ flair for crafting distinct settings. Here, castles, villages, and forests have an inviting storybook style while still feeling tangibly real. Details like flags fluttering in the wind and NPCs milling about immerse players in the environment. Hopping along the rooftops of peasant huts or dashing through castle courtyards captures the spirit of epic historic adventures.
For the space race era, Bang-On Balls humorously interprets the USA vs USSR conflict by having Bob complete movie sets depicting events like the moon landing. These levels stand out through creative touches like low gravity segments and hidden cosmonaut dance parties. The visual design melds retro sci-fi charm with comic book pizzazz for a uniquely playful pop art atmosphere.
Each world overflows with interactive set pieces and hidden collectibles that make exploration rewarding. Delightful secrets like the ability to summon mythical kaiju creatures out in the ocean add to the sense of mystery. The sprawling maps mean players can spend hours rooting through every nook and cranny for Easter eggs and power-ups. Uncovering all the hidden depths and secrets in the expansive worlds promises lasting gameplay value.
Overall, the environments have an irresistible sense of character. Their over-the-top takes on real history let the developer flex their creative muscles. And the detailed art direction shows a real labor of love went into crafting each cinematic world. Bouncing around their expressive landscapes is a joy. The diverse settings provide engaging backdrops that bolster Bang-On Balls’ zany action.
Dressing to Impress with Wild Character Customization
Half the fun in Bang-On Balls comes from its deep cosmetic customization that lets players express their creativity. Bob might start as a basic ball, but unlocking new looks turns him into a fashion icon. The extensive options for tailoring Bob’s style provide plenty of rewarding incentives for continued play.
A rainbow of colors and patterns allows tweaking Bob’s base appearance from the get-go. But the real treasures come from the abundance of stylish accessories scattered through each level. Outfits run the gamut from historically-grounded designs like viking armor to off-the-wall ideas like a robotic disco ball suit. Equipping items like pirate hats, capes, and facial hair opens up a world of mixing and matching for silly results.
Spicing up Bob’s combat potential are equippable weapons like futuristic blasters and trusty swords. These not only add visual flair but provide gameplay advantages against certain enemy types. Players can really fine-tune their playstyle by coding Bob for melee, ranged, or elemental combat with the right gear. The sheer volume of cosmetics ensures every player can craft a Bob that matches their personality.
Beyond the combat usefulness of weapons, the outfits are purely cosmetic fun. Yet they deliver significant joy and become powerful incentives to scour levels. There’s a giddy thrill to decking Bob out in a new ridiculous costume and taking him for a test spin. Watching a hot dog-suited ball warrior bash enemies never gets old. The customization makes the world and characters feel rich with personality.
By the end, Bob evolves into an expressive avatar reflecting the player’s own quirky sensibilities. The extensive options empower creativity and allow nearly endless configurations to discover. Having this degree of visual customization adds an engaging meta-game of collecting and compiling a wardrobe that is hard to draw away from. Players won’t be rolling the same blank slate Bob for long before he becomes an embodiment of their whimsical vision.
Wacky Solo Adventuring Through History
While Bang-On Balls offers rollicking multiplayer mayhem, its single player campaign provides a robust solo experience. The madcap objectives and minimal storyting may seem random at first, but end up encouraging maximum engagement with the game’s quirky world.
Each themed world features a paper-thin premise for Bob to intervene in historical crises as a movie hero. Though the tales essentially boil down to smashing stuff, they’re told with enough humor and heart to propel players onward. Objectives keep things moving briskly from one zany set piece to the next. Whether it’s demolishing castles to rescue peasants or beating back pirate invasions, Bob bashes his way through entertaining gauntlets of chaos.
The level goals strike a great balance between providing direction and allowing flexibility. While primarily linear, Bang-On Balls’ sandbox-style layouts let players roam to uncover side diversions. Chasing down every distraction ends up being more rewarding than rushing to finish assignments. Side activities like dance-offs with disco robots and defended peasant potluck picnics deliver delightful nuggets of humor through play.
Puzzle challenges sprinkled about also break up the pace nicely. Activities like rerouting power in ancient alien machinery provide light brain teasers. Figuring out solutions with items found nearby taps into innate tinkering impulses. The puzzles feel organically integrated rather than arbitrarily shoehorned in.
Of course, platforming and combat still make up the bulk of play. Levels consistently build on these core mechanics with new obstacles and enemy types. Platforming difficulty increases moderately; while never intensely punishing, levels require more precision and timing in later areas. Combat similarly escalates from mindless bashing to nuanced use of positioning and equipped weapons. Bosses especially provide a satisfying test combining platforming, combat, and puzzle-solving.
But importantly, Bang-On Balls maintains a low barrier to entry. Early levels let players get accustomed to controls and basics before ramping up challenges. With frequent checkpoints and unlimited lives, the game promotes a stress-free experience. The campaign finds a sweet spot between variety and accessibility for a delightful solo adventure.
While rudimentary in narrative, the single player mode captures an infectious spirit of fun through its gameplay. The unpredictable chain of zany objectives and distractions keeps every stage feeling fresh and lively. Simplicity and leniency ensure the challenges consistently hit a sweet spot between thoughtless button mashing and frustrating difficulty. Solo players will find plenty to keep them happily rolling along through hours of absurd historical antics.
Multiplayer Mayhem With Friends
Bang-On Balls caters to both solo spheres and social circles with its local and online co-op modes. Teaming up in 2 player splitsceen or 4 player online play opens new avenues for bouncing hilarity. However, some connectivity kinks disrupt the multiplayer experience from achieving true greatness.
Locally, the game supports two Bob balls tackling missions together on a single screen. Levels adapt well to accommodate double the players, with puzzles and routes tweaked to need cooperative actions. Having a buddy controls the camera, essential for tracking both balls during hectic sections. Shared lives also raise the stakes compared to single player’s unlimited retries. Overall, local co-op delivers a ratcheted up yet accessible version of the core quests.
Online opens the door for groups to squad up and cause virtual chaos. Stages accommodate up to 4 players with adept scaling of challenges. Seeing four wildly customized Bob balls careening around breaking everything in sight amplifies the wackiness exponentially. The large worlds give online teams freedom to split up and explore or converge for especially tricky sections. Communicating to time intricate puzzles makes beating levels feel more rewarding.
However, getting online sessions running smoothly can hit snags. Connectivity issues and lag cropped up frequently during testing. Syncing up and maintaining stability proved finicky and resulted in disjointed gameplay when working improperly. Technical hiccups bogged down the experience despite its strong creative multiplayer design.
When connections run cleanly, the cooperative additions shine as meaningful expansions on single player. But spotty technical execution sadly hampers Bang-On Balls from fully delivering on the potential of its multiplayer ideas. Some post-launch patches to smooth out netcode and add features like drop-in support would go a long way towards improving the experience. For now, local co-op provides the most reliably enjoyable option for sharing the zany action.
A Visually Vibrant World Brought to Life
Bang-On Balls’ delightfully stylized art direction stands as one of its crowning achievements. The visual presentation pops with color, character, and creativity across the board. Charming aesthetics pair with technical prowess to make exploring the game worlds a truly immersive joy.
From lush forests to alien planets, each environment impresses with an incredible attention to detail. Levels feel tangibly real and lived-in thanks to touches like blowing grass, swirling particle effects, and ambient wildlife. The retro-inspired landscapes literally feel plucked from Saturday morning cartoons thanks to their expressive style. Bob and his spherical co-stars similarly brim with personality through their animated eye movements and comic reactions.
On a technical level, the game displays consistently smooth animation with few hitches. The smooth frame rate lets Bob’s world come alive with seamless motion, essential for nails-on-chalkboard sensations when platforming goes awry. Even with dozens of elements on screen, levels retain stability and fluidity during hectic combat encounters. Only a couple visually dense segments saw minor slowdown during review.
Less consistent is the game’s camera which occasionally loses track of the action during busier scenes. Given the full 3D environments, an adjustable camera proves essential, and Bang-On Balls makes a good effort at intelligent tracking. But obstacles can still block the view at inopportune times, leading to unfortunate falls. Some manual tweaking helps alleviate most issues.
Accompanying the visual feast is a playfully eclectic soundtrack spanning rocking battle themes to serene ambience. The audio design sells the madcap tone through goofy effects and dialog. While none of the music reaches catchy iconic status, the overall soundscape provides an appropriate backdrop of fun.
Shortcomings aside, Bang-On Balls’ stellar presentation generates endless appeal. Few games can match its sheer artistic talent and attention to detail. The charming visuals and smooth technical execution bring its worlds to life in a memorable way that sticks with players long after turning it off.
Hours of Oddball Fun That Keeps On Rolling
Bang-On Balls’ winning blend of varied objectives, hidden secrets, and multiplayer support provide tremendous replay value. The sheer density and scope of its worlds deliver enough content to keep players happily bouncing for dozens of hours. Ongoing updates promise even more longevity down the road.
A single run through the main story quests clocks in around 15 hours. However, the temptation to fully explore every nook and cranny of the sprawling levels can easily double that playtime. Items to collect are strategically tucked away to reward thorough searching. Discovering hidden caves or piecing together clues to reveal secret stages becomes addicting.
Even after unraveling all mysteries, the sandbox design means no two runs play the same. With randomly generated puzzles and events, levels stay fresh with each visit. Different costume loadouts and combat abilities also encourage replay to experiment with new strategies. Co-op introduces another wrinkle, letting friends breathe new life into familiar levels through creative teamwork.
Adding to the value proposition, Bang-On Balls’ developers have mapped out an impressive slate of free DLC. Major updates will introduce new worlds to continue Bob’s adventures. Keeping the game alive with ongoing support rather than rushed sequels is a huge bonus. Planned features like expanded multiplayer and custom quest creation provide even more incentives for players to revisit.
For an indie title at a budget price, the amount of content jam-packed into Bang-On Balls is staggering. Between the secrets lingering after credits roll, multiplayer tomfoolery with pals, and forthcoming updates, this is a game that could easily bounce around in consoles for months. Players looking for an infectiously fun and fresh take on 3D platformers will find their new time sink here.
The Ballad of Bang-On Balls: A Smashing Success
When it comes down to it, Bang-On Balls: Chronicles delivers exactly what it promises – a whimsical, entertaining 3D platformer overflowing with absurdity and classic gameplay charm. Its flaws prove minor in the face of its sheer commitment to fun.
While it breaks little new ground for the genre, Bang-On Balls excels at providing polished, responsive, and varied takes on platforming fundamentals. There’s a sense of care and polish to even its silliest elements, suggesting a labor of love from the developers. Each world brims with personality and rewards exploration with memorable moments of discovery. Chaining Bob’s abilities together during challenging sections provides satisfying skill progression.
Multiplayer functionality adds to the value, despite some lingering technical issues hampering online connectivity. But even strictly playing solo, the sprawling worlds and customization offer dozens upon dozens of hours of smiles. Add in the roadmap of free updates and planned features, and Bang-On Balls emerges as a game that could bounce around systems for months rather than weeks.
In the end, Bang-On Balls is easy to recommend for what it does right – delivering an infectious, feel-good experience through its setting and mechanics. The sheer fun factor makes it worth rolling with Bob the Ball through history. Bang-On Balls succeeds in recapturing the playful spirit of 3D action games, now coated in a fresh coat of quirky personality.
So if you’re seeking some breezy platforming escapism filled with laughs, look no further. It might not reinvent wheels, but Bang-On Balls: Chronicles nonetheless provides a smashing good time. This quirky title knocks it out of the park on the merits of pure fun.
Bang-On Balls: Chronicles
Bang-On Balls: Chronicles delivers a knockout punch of chaotic fun that hits the sweet spot for fans of 3D platformers. Its zany premise and physics-based gameplay create an intoxicating gameplay loop filled with absurdity. A few technical issues hold back the multiplayer implementation slightly, but the charming solo quest has personality and polish to spare. Imaginative worlds, deep customization, and planned free updates give this indie budget title shocking lasting value. Despite a lack of narrrative ambition, Bang-On Balls succeeds admirably in its mission to provide unrestrained, feel-good fun.
- Whimsical and quirky gameplay with a unique premise.
- Varied and creative level design based on historical eras.
- Extensive character customization options.
- Multiplayer modes for both local and online play.
- Stunning and expressive art direction.
- High replay value with hidden secrets, random generation, and planned free DLC.
- A polished, responsive, and skillful take on 3D platforming fundamentals.
- Affordable price point for the amount of content offered.
- Some technical issues with online multiplayer connectivity.
- Lack of a deep narrative storyline.
- Relatively basic platforming challenges.
- Combat can become button-mashy and lacks deep strategy.
- Occasional camera issues in busier scenes.
- Limited musical standout moments.
- May not introduce significant innovations to the 3D platformer genre.
- The game's appeal may be limited to those seeking lighthearted, casual gameplay.