Guten Tag, it's been a few years. I haven't been on here since #GetMeOffTheMoon (still too soon?). It's actually a surprise to see a forum like this still as active as it is, considering the major famine we've been having for the past few years.
Anyway, I haven't seen a post about this, well, anywhere, and I gotta say it's not all that surprising considering the initial reception. However, and I am a little late to the party as usual, but I decided to download Blast Ball a couple days ago. My initial expectations were low to say the least, yet this demo blew me away like I would have never expected.
Perhaps it's the competition that really grabs me. But let's dig into it. First of all, the controls. I think they are very solid, and improve upon the controls Metroid Prime Hunters had. Really, I think it's on par with the original Metroid prime when it comes to layout and ease of use. Movement is fluent and responsive, being able to line up your shots at an angle adds a depth of strategy to a first person shooter that is satisfying to say the least, once it is mastered. The gyroscopic aiming could have been calibrated to be a little less sensitive, it's a tad difficult to use at first, but if you switch to control layout B (not really the best option, but it's a nice commonly used layout for newcomers that have played games like Call of Duty) it's a bit easier to master if your using the C stick on a New 3DS. Eventually, I did manage to master the subtle movements necessary to use the motion recognition controls, and it felt natural.
I actually like the style of the game. I know esthetics is a matter of stark opinion, and that most don't favor it in the slightest, but after seeing a character model of Samus, I actually found it fairly reminiscent of the drawings we saw in the old instruction manual. It doesn't seem nearly as serious as the series has presented itself, thus far, but I approve of the cheeky character animations, the fairly detailed models, and the fun direction you'd expect to see from a team oriented adventure. It's colorful and exciting in my opinion.
The concept is fairly simple, shoot a ball into the opposing team's goal. Actually, it sounds so simple, it's almost lacking, right? Yet, this game knows what it is, and it manages to squeeze the most out of this simple concept. Three on three doesn't seem like much, but the stage is just the right size to keep the gameplay relentlessly busy. Not too big, not too crowded. There's a lot you can do with the way you intend to play. The players can rush the ball, you can shoot the opponents to deactivate their suits. The power ups are simple enough. A shield that protects your from damage and allows you to walk the ball, a booster that increases your speed and agility, and what I can only describe as an EMP bomb that ejects the opposing team from their suits and forces them to scramble to get back in the game. These little additions really keep the pressure up and the game delightfully frantic. The target goal also gets smaller with every point scored, providing a chance for an opposing team that may not be so skilled at the start the fair chance to redeem themselves. All in all, Blast Ball is immensely addictive. I've already dumped three hours into it, and considering the matches are short little bite sized events, that's quite a few matches.
Alternately, there are a couple training modes that teach you the ropes. Think of it as basic combat training for the full game to come. A delightfully busy shooting range with static and moving "paper" targets is your first "graded" test and teaches you the basics of shooting. A second tests pits you against a hord of space pirates and it starts to really shine. From what can be seen during this short experience, the AI is great. Enemy's appear to take cover, while stronger enemies will rush in for a bet shot to do the most damage. Getting too close, and enemies will melee. I Was fairly impressed with this. It's a definite improvement on the AI of the original Prime, where enemies would either bum rush or stand out in the open right within your line of fire. This makes the ability to aim slightly ahead of enemies as they move a must when trying to dispatch them as quickly as possible. I can only assume this is implimented even better in the finished product.
Now, I understand the gripes of other fans. I know I'm not among the majority on this. This isn't the Metroid people wanted after five years and the critical failure of Other M. People are, within reason, afraid that Nintendo is playing fast and loose with a beloved IP with a very devoted niche following, and their recent experiments have been far from successful, as they try to catch up with the VG demigods of Call of Duty, Halo, and other huge twitch shooters that clutter up the market and seem to rake in bundles of cash. I get that. I get that a game that doesn't see the titular character, Samus Aran, as the games protagonist, and that seems luck a kick in the face after the excruciating wait. This more than likely would have been better received along side a new main addition to the series. I get that also. But what also needs to be understood is that the gameplay is recognizably intact, the charm is there, and, while I can't speak for the finished product just yet, Blast Ball itself is a pretty great game in it's own right with decent appeal, and it's worth the grab, especially as a free demo. I don't know about you, but I would have gladly payed ten bucks for what I got out of this, hands down. So here's to hoping the finished product stacks up to what is presented. I'm eagerly waiting for the 19th of August, are you? What are your thoughts?