Ball laB II is a precision, single-screened platformer with a minimalist presentation. Don’t let the simple, non-animated stages fool you though, there is quite a challenge here.
There is no environmental puzzle solving in this platforming sequel. Instead, gameplay is completely designed around twitch, precise jumps. Unlike the ridiculous set pieces found in something like Super Meatboy, for example, the player can see all hazards and challenges immediately since everything takes place on a single, non-scrolling screen. There are no checkpoints but death results in an instant restart. Each stage, if you manage to clear it, only takes a few seconds too. Reaching that end point, however, is the gimmick of the gameplay. Other than a default double jump, there are no abilities to unlock or levels to gain.
While it starts easy enough, new hazards will eventually become the norm like air vents and water hazards. If you watch my stream embedded in this article, you’ll get an idea of the gameplay and challenge. Point is, the challenge is well paced and the later stages makes it easy to swear worse than a sailor.
One issue that I have always had with games like this are the spikes. Spikes are the hazard that literally fills each screen. Besides being overused (like lava and pits), I always found it cheap that you can bump into the side of a spike and die. It is understood that you will be impaled if you jump on top of a spike, but the player should get a pass for bumping into the side of it. Therefore, the challenge is made that much harder because collision is tied to the entire spike sprite regardless of where it is touched.
There isn’t much else to say regarding Ball laB II. It is a nicely paced, precision platformer composed of simple shapes, solid colors, and almost no animation. Honestly, it is like many other EastAsiaSoft releases, which isn’t a knock on its quality, but rather, that it fits nicely alongside other games in their library.
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By: Zachary Gasiorowski, Editor in Chief myGamer.com