Game Reviews

ScribBall

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ScribBall
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Every game and sport has a certain element of luck involved. There's not a sports man or woman out there that doesn't stand in front of the cameras in their post match interviews and proclaim that a portion of luck had something to do with their victory. Can you imagine the unintended arrogance if, even after years of training and hours at the gym, they had the nerve to put their success wholly down to their skill or ability? It'd be outrageous!

Even so, games that rely too much on luck tend to frustrate and bore in equal measure. If you're enjoying success but you're not entirely sure how, then satisfaction is pretty hard to come by. Likewise, simply not getting the luck and falling at every hurdle for no reason can lead to bucket loads of frustration, making said game pretty worthless as a result. Luck is a pretty fundamental thing to balance, and arguably it plays too much of a role here in ScribBall.

Not that you're left with no kind of input. ScribBall comes with the kind of premise that will be instantly familiar to even the most novice of iPhone owners: your task here is to match up coloured balls in groups of four or more, removing them from the puzzle in the process. The balls come in various sizes and fall from the top of the screen whenever an empty space presents itself, bouncing around in the process and showing a startling grip on physics.

Matching up these balls becomes a case of moving them around on the screen and eliminating those that are in the way. Doing the latter requires nothing more than a simple tap of the screen, the touch of your finger popping the ball like a bubble and clearing the way for other balls to fall into the space left behind. However, doing so fills up a portion of the status bar that runs along the bottom of the screen, with the game coming to an end when the bar fills up completely.

In light of this, it's often best to try and move the balls around as they are, tipping the iPhone itself left and right to hand the balls over to the forces of gravity. Acting as if they are as light as air, it's often possible to completely reorder the balls simply by shaking your phone around, setting off a chain of combinations that can clear half the board and also add a zero or two to the end of your score by the game's end.

It's often impossible to match up the coloured balls by eliminating others without clearing half the screen with your finger and pushing the status bar to breaking point. This leaves you with no other option than to give proceedings a good shake and see what happens. The fact that this usually leads to a mountain of match-ups before you've even had to a chance to fathom what new balls have dropped into view means that this can hardly be considered a mark of a player's skill.

That's fair enough for a quick five-minute ditty on your iPhone, and ScribBall's visual style (the balls almost looking as if they've been scribbled in by hand) certainly gives it the kind of individual look that easily outclasses some of its rivals. But the simplicity of its presentation and play can't hide the fact that a large proportion of your success or failure in ScribBall rests with how the balls happen to fall and not how you manage to cope with them.

ScribBall

ScribBall is a simple and smart looking puzzler slightly let down by its over-reliance on the element of chance
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