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Game Maker Games - scissorBALL
 scissorBALL by Pink Moron
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Review by CosMind
The Game:
Bouncing balls are cool, right? Scissors are cool, as long as you aren't running with them, right? So, Bouncing balls with scissors on them have gotta be REALLY cool, right? If you think so, then The Pink Moron may just be a green genius. In scissorBALL (yes, all caps "ball"), you use no more than two buttons to guide a crazy bouncing scissor bladed red ball on a quest to shatter as many targets as possible - while collecting 5 key objects to open a gate to the next crazy world. That's all there is to it. Simple concept, but... BUT... moderately challenging gameplay.

The Guts:
Nothing more than a knowledge of how to press the left and right arrow keys is required to play scissorBALL. Pressing the left arrow key rotates Ball (let's name him "Ball" for the remainder of this review) to the left around his own centerpoint. Pressing right does the opposite. The trick is, Ball is always plummeting forward at a constant, and rather fast, speed. Ball bounces off of walls and most other obstacles, while being altered in some manner when colliding with a number of other hazards. For example, hitting a warp vortex instantly teleports Ball back to the start of the level, or running into a stationary spikey metal ball renders Ball into a splattering of red goop. Any misfortune like the latter costs Ball one of his 5 lives. Lose all 5 and it's game over.

The game is rather small - coming in at only 4 levels - which aren't very large in themselves. The goal in each level is to collect (by touching) 5 blue orbs to open a gate to the next world. TONS of targets are strewn throughout each level, and collecting is both a bonus to your score and your soul. Yeah, you heard me. A bonus to your soul. I must say, the targets are the best thing about this game. Running into a target sends it shattering into a shower of flickery goodness and rings out an ultra-satisfactory cccccrrrrruunchiiiiiiiing sound (sort of like shattering glass, but way better). It's one of those rare gameplay experiences that just feels right. I could spend a day or two just coasting along through fields of these targets.

As for the actual game mechanics, though, I can't exactly say the same. It's not that they are shallow, but rather that they are quite unintuitive. No matter how long and hard I played, i could never get to the point where i melted away into the game. There are a few factors that contribute to this unfortunate cause:

- Character relative controls; with the constant reorientation from bouncing off of walls, the controls end up being reversed every fraction of a second.
- Too small of a view border; Ball moves way too fast giving little time to react to obstacles/hazards that just enter the view.
- Lack of an overall positional indicator; a thumbnail map would not make the game less challenging, but less random and frustrating.
- Progress blocking bug in level 3; for some reason, each time that Ball met his maker and respawned, it lost the ability to break the ice blocks.

Nonetheless, the simple challenge of collecting the orbs and targets, staying alive, and exiting the gate to the next world is moderately gratifying. So, in the end, it all evens out. I just wish that I knew what the scissors on Ball were for...

The Glimmer:
This game is well put together, period. From start to finish, there isn't much, but what is there is presented in a very polished manner. The visuals are crisp and color concious, bringing a unique and welcoming feel to each of the four worlds. Ball itself is nothing more than a red ball with some dark colored dashes for eyes - but add in the scissors that "shink" and spin from his sides when he rotates, along with the well done trail of particles left in its wake - and Ball becomes an endearing "character". I especially like the grassy terrain tiles of the first world, and the simple snow falling in level 3. Good stuff.

The best part of this games presentation, though, is its sound. This I find bizarre, because there is only one song. But, this song is well composed, catchy, and manages to perfectly fit each level (regardless of their drastically different world themes; quite an audio achievement). Collecting the blue orbs complements its nice particle ring with an audible "peace!" (well, at least that what it says to me). And as mentioned before, the sweet sweet sweet sound of crashing through the targets.

The Grade:
Roll the drum and shred the envelope. This game garners a 6/10. Its quality presentation, simple premise, and those targets are just enough to climb scissorBALL past its own mechanical faults. Give it a try, it won't take long, and you'll be a better person after shattering targets.


Author's Comments

Smash targets and collect gems as you fly and bounce through varied worlds. The gameplay is smooth and simple in this colorful arcade game.

Download scissorBALL (EXE, ~1.14 MB )

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Comments (Add your own):
2007.08.03 DgN
Rating: 10

This is one of the best games ever made in gamemaker!
2005.11.26 true boon
Rating: 7

I'm sorry. I just don't like this game. I mean it's a cool idea, but the bouncing just doesn't seem right. And that other guy's right about the ice. I also like the music. I just can't seem to get the hang of it.
2005.06.23 Dr_baconman
Rating: 8

Mmm... pretty good, nut not perfect. Here's some things you could do to make it slightly better:
-Have some different music play on each level rather than just one tune.
-I don't especially like how the levels just looped after you beat the last one, but I'm not sure how to improve that...
-On the icy level, sometimes the Ice blocks would mess up and wouldn't work right, like they're staying instead of disappearing when you hit 'em.
That's about it, I suppose... But I LOVE what you did with the backgrounds in the Tree level! I've gotta find out where you got those trees from! Unless if they're hand-made. In any case, I'd like to use it.
Good game, yah?
2005.06.02 Ace02
Rating: 8

Very nicely done game, really gives that retro feeling. The graphics really fit the theme, and all the little sound effects are really great.
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