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Switchball Review

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Developer: Atomic Elbow Publisher: Sierra
Release Date: September 17, 2009 Available On: PS3 and Xbox 360

Even though it is two years late, Switchball has finally made its way to the PS3 after being released to positive reviews on PC and Xbox 360. Better late than never. It has been resurrected for release on the PSN and while a lot of improvements in the way of graphics have been made since 2007, Switchball still looks and plays quite well.

Switchball is a puzzle game that is akin to Marble Madness or even Super Monkey Ball. The premise is to roll a marble through each course to reach its end. You will have to avoid obstacles along the way, such as boxes. You will also have to activate and deactivate things such as fans and magnets to aid you along the way. Nothing revolutionary in terms of design, but well done nonetheless.

Your marble can transform into various different balls with their own distinct physical properties. These include a Marble Ball (which you start out as), Metal Ball (push objects out of your way, although will tear through things such as cloth), Air Ball (when inflated helps you reach higher areas), and the Power Ball (which doesn’t win you the lottery, but does give you a jump, dash and magnetism ability).

The game features thirty levels across six different worlds. The levels are fairly diverse in construction and the later levels can get quite complex. Each of the worlds has its own theme to go by, such as Sky World, Lava World and Ice World. These themes go well with the game, but don’t really stray too far from the beaten path. I guess they could have attempted something a little more goofy, yet the traditional nature does not hurt either.

The most impressive part of the game is without a doubt the physics engine. The ball movement is fluid, the lighting is dazzling and the interaction between objects realistic. Whether it is the ball rolling on cloth, pushing balls and crates, swinging between magnets or just weaving between obstacles, the real-time reaction of two or more objects colliding could not be more impressive. Given that this is a downloadable game, that is even more noteworthy.

Fans of puzzle solving, platforming and maze games all have something to enjoy in Switchball. With some innovative and challenging puzzles, this is one of the premiere puzzle games out there on PSN and Xbox Live today. While games like Super Monkey Ball focus more on just making it through a given stage with little effort in interacting with a level, Switchball forces you to interact with your environment and put the physics engine to the test. Go ahead, give it a spin. You might like it.

Graphics: 7.5
Sound: 7
Gameplay: 7
Creativity: 8
Replay Value/Game Length: 7
Final: 7.3 out of 10
Written by Kyle Bell Write a User Review