Version Reviewed: 1.0.0
Graphics / Sound [rating:4/5]
Game Controls [rating:3.5/5]
User Interface [rating:4/5]
Re-use / Replay Value [rating:3/5]
Named after the Brazilian word for "marble" (gude, pronounced "good"), GudeBalls is an odd (but likable!) action-puzzler that relies on cheerfully spinning marbles and twirling plates. The simple premise—load same-colored marbles onto the plates and make them explode—becomes increasingly complex as the board layout evolves and the speed increases, creating a fast-paced game that requires both quick thinking and plate-spinning talent. While the implementation of the unique concept is great, the game feels a bit empty. Still, it is a solid puzzler.
Each plate has one slot on each side; each of the four slots can hold one marble. Paths link the plates, and by tapping a path, the adjacent marble will roll to the next plate. You spin the plates by tapping on them. Once you load a plate with four like-colored marbles, it explodes, and once you explode them all, the level is complete. Later, special features add more spice to the game play...locked paths that can only be crossed by a certain color, paint that changes a marble's color, fanged barriers that can crush marbles, and so on.
If that sounds like a weird premise for a game, rest assured, it works. As the game builds, it can get hectic. Soon, you're frantically trying to direct blue marbles into a dish in the corner that can only be accessed by blues, while simultaneously directing the yellows onto the other side of the board—and you have to keep the incoming marbles from backing up! The time-crunch is really, what makes GudeBalls shine; you have to be able to effectively juggle your attention between all of your goals.
The graphics are functional, and while not amazingly gorgeous, they're definitely solid. The soundtrack is fine and you can always play your iPod music over the built-in stuff.
Unfortunately, GudeBalls doesn't have tremendous replay value. Most of the obstacles and special barriers introduced are straightforward, and the basic strategy doesn't really change during the game. I also feel as if the controls aren't the best; sometimes, I miss the plate and end up sending a marble down a path instead, which can be frustrating.
Depending on the type of gamer you are, GudeBalls may or may not be your thing. Check out the lite version (App Store link) to get an idea of whether or not it's for you. It didn't quite hook me, but I still enjoyed it. GudeBalls is definitely a unique game, and I can appreciate it even if it wasn't quite to my tastes. It is certainly worth a look, and with its dollar price point and lite version, it's not much of a gamble.