I have to admit: I came into Bang-On Balls: Chronicles with lowered expectations. Maybe it was the inexplicable internet Countryball or Polandball meme. This wouldn’t be the first Polandball game, with Polandball: Cat into Space releasing around five years ago now. But while Bang-On Balls might resemble the strange Countryball phenomenon, it does its own thing, and it does it well.
Bang-On Balls: Chronicles is a 3D platforming game where you take control of a ball, and roll around wrecking buildings, fighting enemies, and discovering secrets and collecting items. When I originally saw that Bang-On Balls was a platformer, I was thinking it would be closer to a hybrid of Marble Madness and Super Mario Odyssey (or other 3D platformer), but it’s not exactly either of those. It’s definitely a hybrid of rolling and platforming that I haven’t encountered before. While it’s similar to other open level platformers of yesteryear, it’s got its own spin on things. Not quite ball, not quite person, you play as a fleshly, bouncy sack of—something—usually touting a colorful, flag-themed skins, and whatever other cosmetics you want to deck your ball in. Then you roll around, either solo or with three other friends (or strangers) across on open-ended level—and sometimes it’s pure chaos.
While Bang-On Balls is in Early Access, it’s extremely polished, and despite there only being one level currently available, there’s a surprising amount of stuff to do. Most objects in Bang-On Balls are destructible, especially the larger you get—and you grow as you gain more HP. Each of the levels will be differently themed, with the first available having a Viking theme. It’s playable fully from start to finish, with multiplayer encouraged—though it’s possible to play solo. According to the information on the Steam store page, there will be five total levels when the game finishes development, which developers are hoping will be at the end of next year.
While it may be a bit of an oddball, Bang-On Balls: Chronicles is simple fun. Bouncing around, smashing into enemies and objects is satisfying and amusing. There are tons of cosmetics to find, or purchase using orbs obtained in-game—and when I say “purchased” I mean fed to characters until they explode, leaving their clothes behind. But it’s all goofy, and its violence is cartoony and not gratuitous. I’m looking forward to seeing how Bang-On Balls shapes up and changes over the next year.
Bang-On Balls: Chronicles is available in Early Access on Steam now.
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