I remember as a kid playing marble wars with other kids. For those who never did, you’d place your marble in an area and flick it against other marbles to try and knock them out and take their marble for your own. I’d be after the shiny ones. I’d fail miserably. This sumo styled ‘push-your-opponent-out’ battle system has made its way over to video gaming in various forms. The latest iteration is Fuzz Ball.
Fuzz Ball takes six furry animals are turns them into plushie balls to roll around different levels and push your opponents out. Each stage starts off with up to 4 players (AI can fill in the rest if you want) with several lives – last one standing wins. To push the others off you can do a quick boost push or a charged powerful boost and you’ll aim with the analogue stick to spear off in that direction. Its very simple to pick up and has some nuance to it. For instance, you can jump out the way and watch your opponent charge off the edge of the stage if you are dexterous enough.
Fuzz Ball’s strongest point is its level design. Each level is a different room in a house. The kitchen has oven rings that will turn on and kill you. The toilet can be flushed once you punt someone down it. The bath has sponges that change the shape of the playing area. The fridge freezer turns you to ice if you touch a wall. The dinning room table has a fan that will blow you off the table. The level of creativity is great here and it reminds me a little of the micro machine world. It’s a shame then that all the characters handle and play the same and feel like reskins rather than actual characters.
Outside of the simplistic battle ‘party’ mode there are two other modes you can enjoy. The first is a co-operative mode where you work together to solve various challenges such as collecting coins, guarding a flag from AI fuzz ball attacks or dodging obstacles. This then awards you points for how quickly you complete the challenges but with no scoreboards beyond your high score, it feels a bit aimless. The second mode is a versus mode which is a copy of the party mode and is lacking all the different permutations of the co-op mode. It feels strange that some of the more interesting variants are locked in a co-op environment rather than a battle mode which is how a lot of these modes shine best.
The last thing I wanted to mention was the price. I believe the game is grossly overpriced for the content at £15.99. It isn’t often I speak on cost as cost is very much dependant on the individual but this seems wildly off the mark. Bombfest gives a much broader and better experience for half the price and Deformers offers a AA gloss for the same price. It is difficult to see where Fuzz Ball can compete.
Overpriced, simplistic and locking lots of its creativity in a random generator that doesn't show Fuzz Ball's best side makes this a difficult game to recommend.
Simple to pick up for all.
Great level design.
Quite a lot of modes available if you can actually find them to play them.
Some of the best features are hidden away behind a co-op random challenge generator when they could be fully fledged versus modes.
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