The Ball is a puzzle game by Teotl Studios. I remember seeing a few articles about it on Rock Paper Shotgun before it was released and I thought based on them that you played some kind of gorilla with a ball presumably, because I kept seeing images of this guy. Instead you actually play some kind of archaeologist, the game is entirely first person, and begins with a long fall into a hole and the knowledge that rescue is on the way but will be a while.
|Screenshot from the official website media section|
The game takes place entirely underground and the player only ever gets one item. It is a bit like the Impact Hammer from Unreal Tournament combined with a magnet. It looks pretty cool and it combined with the eponymous Ball are the tools used to complete every puzzle and fight in the entire game.
It reminds me a lot of Portal. You have one component over which you have complete control you need to determine how that combines with your current environment to progress.
You only see the sky at the beginning and the end of the game, it all takes place inside a bizarre hollow mountain full of ancient ruins. At the beginning of each section there is a pictographic sign that the narrator reads giving increasingly ominous warnings that what you are doing may bring about the end of mankind. There are also secrets in each level which give further details about the history of your location, unfortunately they were sufficiently secret that I never found most of them so I an unlikely to ever learn the full story. The snippets I did get were pretty cool talking about multiple factions in a civil war.
I am not sure when I picked this up, I certainly played most of it when it was part of the Potato Sack bundle which was an ARG/promotion for Portal 2. All of the games in that bundle also had a new Portal themed section added to them and The Balls felt the most fitting. The settings are quite different and it was kind of jarring to basically end up in Aperture Labs whilst inside this strange hollow mountain but the games do feel very similar. Each game providing you with a single tool that can be applied in multiple ways with your surroundings in order to progress. The chambers were pretty well designed too.
I enjoyed my playthrough of The Ball, it was pretty disjointed however, never quite reaching focus game status, meaning that I mostly did individual levels of halves of levels with large gaps in between. The story held up reasonably well despite this but I can't help but wonder what I missed by having those gaps.
Games list at time of post: 391 unfinished titles
Changes since previous post: None