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Portaball Review

By , on November 3, 2010


Portaball
Download on the AppStore
3 out of 5

PROS

  • Interesting portal-based puzzle gameplay.
  • Clean visual style.
  • Levels can be skipped.

CONS

  • No background music (though iTunes is supported).
  • Some trial and error due to poor explanations.

VERDICT

Portaball is a nonsense free puzzler that takes advantage of the Portal concept in a 2D arena to bend your mind to its tricky ways.


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There's no doubt that I've probably missed other attempts at re-conceptualizing Valve's seminal FPS puzzler Portal in to a top down puzzler, but Portaball by Bartosz Ciechanowski is one of the first I've come across and as mind-benders go it doesn't hold back on the challenge.

You'll be slowly introduced to new objects over 50 currently available levels that will change the behavior of a frictionless ball as it bounces around the puzzle environment. Certain specific walls can have one of two different portals opened on them and you'll need to manipulate them in order to navigate around the level to make it to the exit. Barriers, switches, 'phasing', speed pads and holes all combine to confuse and distract players from the often elegant solution required to complete the level.

The visuals keep the Portal-esque theme rolling with its clean mono-tone style, however the designs are clear and easy to read, making even complicated puzzles easy to follow once in motion. Portals can be shifted while the game is paused and the developer encourages players to use this feature to solve time sensitive puzzles. However a bug currently affects when players can pause as holes will continue to open up and cause your ball to fall even when time is stopped.

Challenge modes attempt to extend the life of Portaball, though once completed only leaderboard junkies will really keep plugging away and it would be good to know if more content is planned. Still, if you enjoy a stiff challenge and don't mind the occasional puzzle stumping you then Portaball's elegant gameplay is well worth checking out.

Screenshots

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Comments

Avatar
FalloutNewVegas 3 years, 11 months ago

So wait you mean this game is like portal by Valve...Hmm portal was definately unique and this looks like a pretty unique puzzler following the same style but I'm going to wait a while before I get this...

Avatar
andrew 3 years, 11 months ago

Similar in the sense that you need to control two portals while manipulating physics to get to your goal ;)