Starball is everything an iPhone game should be – fast, fun and addictive. With slick visuals and simple, yet challenging gameplay, Starball is a great new pick-up-and-play offering from developer QuantumSquid Interactive.
The instructions given to the player in Starball fit on 4 lines (always a good thing), and essentially add up to:
- Tilt your phone to roll the green ball
- Collect as many stars as possible
- Avoid the red balls at all costs
- Roll over the question mark (?) balls to activate a random powerup.
The game begins with just your ball and a star somewhere on the screen. The controls in Starball are 100% accelerometer based and tilting your device will allow you to roll the green ball towards the star. Collecting the star causes a red ball to appear. From that point on, every star you collect triggers another red ball to appear. The balls bounce back and forth across the screen on linear, i.e non-random paths from top to bottom, or side to side which initially makes it easy to predict where they’re going.
Starball quickly ramps up in difficulty as the screen fills with more and more bouncing obstacles. Without the help of any powerups, I was repeatedly overwhelmed at around the 15 ball stage. It’s nearly impossible to time your roll through small and moving gaps between the balls. Thankfully, QuantumSquid included some great powerups in Starball to give you a helping hand, which include:
- Ball Buster
A timer located at the bottom of the screen lets you know how much longer the powerup will remain active. Using the powerups to their full advantage is the key to success in Starball – but you also have to get a bit lucky. If you get upwards of 10+ red balls and then activate a “Ball Buster” powerup (destroys all red balls on screen) then you’re well on your way to a high score. I also found that when you get invincibility you’re better off trying to smash as many red balls as you can, rather than going for the star straight away – as the real limit to your score is the number of obstacles you have to try and dodge to obtain each point.
There aren’t too many options in Starball, but a game like this hardly needs them. There is a “Doodle” theme that you can enable for a change of scenery if you like, but I found the Classic is easier to play. Starball is also OpenFeint enabled to allow for online leaderboards and global score comparisons. Overall, a really solid game, a lot of fun to play and comes highly recommended.
Starball v1.1 tested. Starball requires iPhone OS 2.2.1 or later and is compatible with both iPhone and iPod Touch.