Format: PC

Released: March 2018

Fuse Balls caught my eye for its unique twist on a match 3 game mechanic. It uses physics and mini explosions to create a little bit of fusion chaos. Add into that the fact that nothing is moved into a block slot – it’s all freeform – and you have a concoction for something quite awesome.

Which is why it is frustrating to say that Fuse Balls is almost too freeform for its own good.

fuseballs01
I really like the concept of a freeform match 3 physics based score challenge but…

Balls drop in from various sides of your circle and drop to the centre where the bolt that you control is pulling them in with gravity. The balls then fuse together. However, by spinning things around left and right it doesn’t matter where one ball hits another, it will stick to it regardless. This means you really have to be precise to start matching 3 balls together and it is far more difficult to do than it should be. This is because the game will soon start to throw more than one stream of balls at you and you simply can’t match both at the same time. The section you neglect will immediately pile up and so you’ll be turning to the power-ups to either reassemble the balls or blow some up. You’ll become reliant on these power-ups to keep going very quickly and the game starts to feel a little more like luck than skill.

The game has a few other issues too. The developer has set up the steam folder layout wrong so you have to go into the folder and move it all elsewhere. It also suffers from a one trick pony problem in that you’ll have seen everything within about three minutes. Different skins, music, rotating shapes or ball shapes could have stretched out the longevity here, as could steam leaderboards. Apparently, steam leaderboards are in the game but if they are, I’m currently 2nd in the world and I don’t think I’ve ever been that in anything! The final issue is that the games difficulty curve is actually a wave. Sometimes it’ll start you off with 3 streams of balls and you’ll be game over immediately, other times it’ll be just a single stream to manage for ages. Random eh?

Positives

  • The nice art style and aesthetic
  • I like the concept of freeform match 3 balls…

Negatives

  • …but the execution feels too luck based and dependant on how the game wants to treat you at that playthrough
  • Limited replayability
  • Doesn’t install properly on Steam out of the box

Conclusion

Whilst cheap and a good distraction for a few minutes, Fuse Balls ultimately feels too luck based and too difficult to feel like you’ve truly made the difference. The very thing that drew me to buy this game is the very thing that put me off it, but others may find more enjoyment.

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