Escape from 3D labyrinths with Fruit Ball for Android
For those of a certain age the sound of a pinball machine brings up good memories, from simpler times when you had to visit a game room to play Arcade games. The pinball machines were some of the most popular forms of entertainment in those rooms (when the Pacman one was occupied) and everyone just wanted to keep that metallic ball rolling for as long as possible. The pinball machine was invented in the 17th century and now is just a fading memory as we have a multitude of electronic devices that allow us to play complex games. With those big machines even cheating was very difficult. For an adult, lifting the pinball machine a bit to reduce its tilt was the best way to ensure that you play longer than usual. Then they introduced the ‘tilt’ devices which, when detecting a vertical movement, would end the game instantly. Bummer.
Even if the ‘tilt’ device prevented cheating, I believe that it led to future advancements in pinball-style games. Around 1950, a Sweden company named BRIO introduced a labyrinth game where the purpose was to guide a steel ball through a maze without having it fall in one of the holes within the game. It only resemblance the idea in a pinball machine, but still gives you that feeling of controlling a steel ball and avoiding its fall in one of the holes. The BRIO labyrinth was controlled by physically tilting the game, advancing the steel ball little by little until it reached the finish. Pocket versions of these labyrinth games were available too, the only difference being the scaled down sizes of the game parts.
Things evolved and with the development of powerful mobile devices now you can have your own labyrinth tilt game right on your smartphone or tablet. Developed by the Japanese company Riby, ‘Fruit Ball’ is a game that lets you guide a ball through a 3D labyrinth with the purpose of arriving at the finish line while avoiding various obstacles and collecting fruits. You can get a taste of its gameplay by watching the video below:
In ‘Fruit Ball’ you have to guide your ball by tilting the tablet/smartphone in the direction you want it to go. It’s the same type of control as with the physical labyrinth I talked about earlier, just that instead of tilting the labyrinth you’re tilting your device. You also get that feeling of playing pinball as throughout the game you’ll also encounter pins that you can hit with the ball and light them up – the difference is that they won’t throw you back faster as the ones in the pinball machine did.
The game has 7 different worlds, each with 3 levels in average. When starting it, only the first world is unlocked and from there its first level, but as you finish those you can progress to other worlds. In each level you have various obstacles that you need to avoid (i.e. spikes), you have to control the ball so that you don’t fall to unstable grounds (i.e. lava), jump, rotate and also collect fruits as you go along to the finish line. The fruits that you collect in the game can be used later to change the type of ball you use, so if you want to play with a different one collect 50 different fruits and in exchange you’ll get to choose another marble look for your ball.
Here are some of the main features you’ll get when installing ‘Fruit Ball’:
- 3D Graphics. The labyrinth worlds are all created in 3D and they look good. As you go over bridges you can see a nice rendition of water underneath you (the game is viewed from above) when trying to go through moving elements, or watch out not to fall in the lava while rolling on metal bridges, view the Earth in the background when rolling in outer-space structures or down to Earth through rocks and harsh environments. You’ll enjoy the 3D graphics especially since you watch everything from above, just like in the labyrinth game you played in your childhood (or at least hope you did).
- 7 worlds. You can play through 7 different worlds/environments, each with its own sub-levels (usually 3) so a total of 21 playable levels. As long as you’re good at tilting your device to move the ball, you’ll enjoy several hours of gameplay.
- Easy controls. The game uses the internal gyroscope sensor of your device to detect when it is tilted. That’s how you control the ball through the labyrinth and the response is quite accurate, you can even slow down the movement of the ball or accelerate it by leaning it back/forward. The only other interaction is that of starting the game with a tap, choosing the level/ball and pause the game while it’s running.
- Customize ball. By default you get a shiny red ball to roll around through the maze. As the game progresses and you get more coins, you will be able to switch to a different ball (equally shiny).
- In-game actions. While the default gameplay is to guide your ball through the maze, you’ll encounter various actions that are tricky to do. For instance at one point you’ll have to hit some pins, the type of pins you know from pinball machines, which light up when you hit them. It’s a bit tricky yet fun to do it. Another action is jumping, the ball can jump from one layer to another when rolling onto a blue ribbon. You’ll also have to roll through rotating discs, or pass bridges that have moving parts and so on.
- Free of charge. ‘Fruit Ball’ is free to download and play on your device, as long as it’s compatible (Google Play will let you know if it isn’t). I talk about compatibility as it has 3D graphics that might not be supported by older/lower spec devices.
‘Fruit Ball’ impresses through its graphics and is one of those games that you play because you’re nostalgic for the labyrinth ones you had back as a kid. Tilt to roll, just like in old times. The difference is that now you have powerful visual graphics and instead of having to go round the holes now you have to go along walls and avoid falling in the abyss.
You can download the game directly from Google Play: Download Fruit Ball.