Crazy Balls is one of those 'elephant' types of mobile game. No matter how hard you try to describe it, it’s almost impossible to picture how it’ll actually look until you see it for yourself. And when you do, it’s surprisingly impressive (just like an elephant, you see).
That’s not to suggest we’ve got an immensely complicated game here – quite the opposite. Crazy Balls (despite its unfortunately suggestive name) is remarkably simple, to the point at which it could actually work as a physical, coffee table game – not unlike those tilting wooden mazes with a ball bearing inside.
Each level is a maze, though the objective, rather surprisingly, isn’t to find your way out of it. These mazes are designed to confound you, and force some remarkably brain-straining lateral thinking from your gaming neurons. The yellow ball is under your control, coaxed about the various labyrinths using the keypad for standard directional movements.
Dotted about the levels are purple balls, and collecting them all is your overall task. Once the yellow ball touches a purple one, the two stick together in that exact formation – so if you approach the purple ball from above, for instance, it connects to the bottom side of the yellow ball and stays there.
Touching subsequent purple balls (either with the yellow one, or any previously attached purple ones) adds the ball to your current configuration in the same way. From that point on, you’re now controlling the yellow ball and any purple ones that have magnetised themselves to it (for want of a better word).
Pressing the ‘5’ button rotates the collection of purple balls in a clockwise direction around the yellow ball, and it’s this vital mechanic that forms the brain teasing gameplay of Crazy Balls.
Because of the way the mazes are laid out, you won’t always be able to rotate your collection of purple balls, and will have to fathom out exactly how to spin them around the yellow pivot point to allow you to squeeze through all the gaps and gather up every stray purple sphere.
Naturally, this means you have to put some careful consideration into how you attach the purple balls to the yellow one. Bundle them together into a big fat block, and no amount of rotation will get you through the narrow gap in the labyrinth. String them up in one long line, and you won’t have the room to rotate further up the maze.
What begins as an almost brainless task in walking a ball around quite simple mazes quickly becomes a challenging test of spatial acuity and forward thinking. Each level stops being a random collection of balls and walls, and become a slight chaotic, yet complete and connected dynamical system.
You won’t play it for hours on end, but Crazy Balls is one of those puzzlers you’ll constantly be sneaking a quick game of, and will learn to enjoy it as a form of immediate escapism – which is the primary purpose of mobile gaming for many people.