For anyone with fond memories of creating a marble run as a kid, BallFallDown Deluxe is the perfect nostalgic throwback for your iPad. Allowing you to create a custom marble run with a lot of options for customization, BallFallDown from FlatPack Interactive will keep kids and adults of all ages entertained.
After a brief tutorial video, you can get straight down to creating your own marble run on a blank wooden board or you can modify an existing run. There’s an item selector at the top of the screen which contains all the different types of balls and pieces you need to get building. The pieces include wooden planks, glass tubes, spouts that dispense balls, wooden stars that spin when they’re hit, teleporters for transporting balls as well as pinball elements such as flippers and bouncers.
To place a piece on the board you simply tap-and-drag the item from the selector. Once placed, you can pinch-zoom to position the pieces with more precision, or use two fingers to stretch or rotate the piece to the right size or angle. Ball spouts drop balls and provide a never ending supply to fuel your machine. After placing one of these at the top of the screen, balls will drop under the influence of gravity and interact with the obstacles and items you place on the board. You can change how fast the spouts drop balls, the maximum number of balls on screen as well as the strength of gravity in the options panel.
Because the item selector pane takes up a good portion of the screen while its open, you will need to drag pieces onto the board, close the item selector and then reposition them if you want to make use of the top 1/4 of the screen. The option to have it disappear after you have tapped (and held) an item would allow you to avoid double handling the pieces.
Once you’ve placed a number of pieces and a spout for marbles (or one of the many other types of balls available), you can watch your creation in motion by hitting the ‘play’ button. You can still edit and interact with the pieces while it’s running, or you can pause to make changes before starting again. You can also save your marble run at any time so you can come back to it later.
At $4.99 for the Deluxe version, BallFallDown is on the expensive side – but it’s a well-executed, innovative and enjoyable app. If you’d like to try out BallFallDown for free, check out the lite version.
BallFallDown [iTunes Link] is compatible with iPad. Requires iOS 3.2 or later. A small expedite fee was paid by the developer to speed up the publication of this review.