Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Anchor Ball



A very Happy New Year to all you Flash gamers. I had an excellent Christmas with my girl, but now it's time to buckle down and get back to ruining my day by my own rank stupidity. Today I have done so by playing Anchor Ball.

Now, I've played some weird ass games on the internet, but this one takes the biscuit. Anchor Ball is electronic keepy uppy. In other words, you need to keep the ball in the air for as long as possible, making sure it doesn't hit the ground. It's a pretty common premise and you'll find myriad versions of the game online. But I guarantee you that you won't find any quite like Anchor Ball.

Ask yourself how you would keep that ball in the air. Perhaps kick or head the ball repeatedly? Maybe you'd use some kind of a bat or stick?

If your answer, however, was, "With an anchor," you are most likely an idiot. You are probably also the developer of Anchor Ball.

Oh yeah. You always wondered if anyone would ever find a way to combine the dual pleasures of keepy uppy and swinging large heavy lumps of iron around. Well here we are!



Each of Anchor Ball's five levels have the same goal: hit the ball. Hit the ball with the anchor. Hit it again. And so you run after the ball, swinging the anchor at the right moment to send that black and white sphere blasting through space. And when I say "run" I mean "amble." The ball moves at a regular pace, but your character is slow as fuck. As a result, it's hard to ratchet up an especially impressive score. Guess that's what you get when you play keepy uppy with an anchor.



Notice any similarities between this screenshot and the one before it? That's because it's the same fucking level. Oh, I know it's supposed to be level two, but even Helen Keller could see the only thing that changed was the background. We were in a weird red jungle place; now we're in a forest. Wow. Just... wow.

And it's the same thing for the other three levels. Here you are on a snow-covered landscape:



And now you're in a... I don't know what the fuck this is supposed to be:



And finally you end up outside some... doughnut beach hut?



Were they high when they drew this shit?

Regardless, the change in scenery can't disguise the fact that you're on the same small platform for the entire game. I know there are big holes on either side, but you don't have to worry about them as both you and the ball are stopped by invisible walls. This does, however, leave me asking - how did some skinny little guy manage to jump over those giant gaps with a football and an anchor under his arms?

The developer rather kindly did include a power-up to help you score. If you hit one of the gold coins suspended in the air you'll be rewarded with five points. If you somehow manage to keep the ball up long enough to score ten points, you'll be given the opportunity to use a force field for a limited amount of time, which makes hitting the ball a lot easier.



Of course, I have a gripe here as well, because the shield has to be activated manually, meaning you stand a very good chance of losing your big score and having to start all over again. If it were to start automatically it would be of great benefit, but then getting rid of the fucking anchor you have to carry around and just kicking the damn ball would be helpful too.



I should state at this point that even though the game is split into five separate (though identical) levels, you don't actually have to do anything to reach the next drug-induced fantasy land. You just run around for forty-five seconds before being whisked off to the next bad trip, and in the end your total score is tallied up. To produce a game this boring is one thing, but to give us nothing to play for but the chance to be included on some high score table is pretty ridiculous. I'm sure some people get a kick out of saying "I scored 274 points on Anchor Ball" but I'm not one of them, and quite frankly, if I ever met such a person I'd probably kick him in the knees until he fell down and cried like a little girl.

So that's Anchor Ball. Be sure to log on for my next review, Scud Missile Frisbee.

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