Admittedly, I thought Red Ball would be a two-second play. One of those games that I would get tired of because the graphics reminded me of a simple start-up; something that somebody created and published as their first-ever, kinda-okay game.
Instead, this game engulfed me, and I was set on mastering the physics of Red Ball. And just when I thought I had, I discovered that the game had lulled me into a false sense of security. Hence, the “tried to” remark in the title. I tried to master this game of physics and fun, but in the end, Red Ball won.
Red Ball is basic at first glance, with a simple concept that dictates you roll and jump a simple, red bouncy ball to flagged finish lines. It seems easy when you explain it in those terms. However, you are met with one obstacle after another, and it only gets harder as you advance from one level to the next.
The controls are simple. Use the left and right arrow keys to move forwards and backwards, and the up-arrow key to jump. You can also “ground” yourself with the down-arrow key. There are checkpoints throughout longer levels, beginning at level two, but you can skip those if you have the confidence to make it to the finish line.
I had too much confidence and not enough skills; ergo, when I missed those checkpoints, I had to start over from the beginning on each level.
UP arrow = Jump
Right arrow = Forward
Left arrow = Back
R = Restart
P = Pause
ESC = Quit
What Skills Do You Need to Play Red Ball?
Red Ball requires more than basic controls and simple movements. It requires skills—all of which you can perfect. But what are the skills that you need, and can hone, for awesome Red Ball gameplay?
- One of the most important skills for playing this game. Take a deep breath when you feel that frustration twinge, then refocus your attention and go slow with your Red Ball. The developers have banked on your patience running low, so prove them wrong by mastering your patience and maintaining your cool.
- Another super important skill to mastering Red Ball, this essential element comes in handy when you jump, roll, and avoid obstacles. Concentration will get you from one level to the next, across checkpoints, and to the finish lines. Those obstacles will try to break you, but with strong concentration, you can accomplish every level and win.
- Quick Reflexes. In some instances, you need to avoid falling obstacles, like axes and wrecking balls.
- Slow it Down When You Need to. In other instances, you have to take your Red Ball slow. This means timing your moves perfectly to catch platforms, leap over thorns, and slow-roll up steep hills.
I Almost Gave Up…But…
After lots of fails within the first ten minutes, I got to level four…and it was magical. I had mastered the leaps and rolls required to get past thorns and platforms, but level four introduced axes. So, I started rolling to gain speed and dive under the axes. But then the axes fell in waves, and I was chopped to pieces. My poor red ball was reduced to particles in less than a second—over and over again.
I had the hardest time on level four, and I almost gave up, but then something clicked. I realized that patience would allow me a slow roll between the axes to avoid being smashed to smithereens. And with that, level four was defeated…and level five was just as challenging and addictive, but doable.
Need an idea of the kinds of obstacles you face in Red Ball?
- Giant Axes (as mentioned above)
- Pacman (Yep, this ginormous yellow ball wants to eat your tiny red ball)
- Wrecking Ball (no Miley Cyrus required, and you can push it to make it swing in a more favorable direction)
- Thorns (Yikes—floor spikes)
- Platforms (be careful of the tilt because these platforms will move with your rolls)
…to name a few.
What Red Ball Taught Me, a Pretty Hardcore Gamer
Red Ball taught me to not take games at face value. My initial impression of Red Ball was that it was simple, basic, and probably not very much fun. However, I was proven wrong in the first few minutes. Sure, the concept is simple, but the game presents enough challenges to be fun, adventurous, and engaging.
As someone that usually plays the kind of hardcore mission games, I loved switching to a calmer, simpler game like Red Ball. It honed my skills, like my concentration, without being too overwhelming or hard to beat. I would rank this one a 9 out of 10, just because there’s always room for improvement.