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Ink Ball HD review (iPad)

April 4, 2011

“Ink runs into my cup, I sip epiphany”

10 word description: Guide ink balls to ink-well. Hand-drawn style, physics puzzler.

Ink, Ink-well, Solid bar, Bouncy bar. And that's all she wrote.

10 word review: A bit disappointing. Think Enigmo with no variation. Missed opportunity. 

... which is fine while the screen is nice and empty.

You will like this if you enjoy: Enigmo (with reservations, as this is nowhere near as varied or colourful); The Incredible Machine; other “place items to guide objects” style physics puzzlers.

Even solutions that work well look a bit messy and clumsy.

The good news: The monochrome inky style is initially rather intriguing.

As soon as I realised the ink balls could be stacked, all the magic was gone.

The bad news: It’s hard to work out who is more confused, the player or the game itself.

Unfortunately, stumbling upon a cheap solution is nowhere near as satisfying as it should be.

Arcadelife verdict: Ink Ball HD lost me somewhere around the 9th puzzle. I carried on, but that’s more because I had a review to write than because I was enjoying the game. Something about it just didn’t grab me.

As far as style and interface are concerned, Ink Ball HD is pretty good. The use of single colour and ink-splash graphics is rather attractive and everything responds well, from the menu options to object placement.

The game itself plays in a fairly intuitive and familiar way, particularly if you have played Enigmo. The drag-drop and circle-rotation object placement is pretty much exactly the same as in that game. The dripping ink balls are also very reminiscent of Enigmo’s stream of trickling droplets.

Having a rotation circle that looks like a coffee cup stain just adds to the feeling that it's all a bit of a mess.

But … the ink balls aren’t liquid, at least not until they plop into the ink-well. They roll around in a manner that suggests they can’t decide whether they’re ping-pong balls or ball-bearings, and they can be stacked. Vertically. It’s all rather odd, and not in a good way because it immediately puts the idea into your head that there’s no consistency between the art and the physics. All of which wouldn’t matter too much if the puzzles were entertaining and gave you that “one more try” incentive to replay them and get the 3-star rating. I didn’t feel that they did.

Well, you said it...

In conclusion, there are probably plenty of hardcore physics puzzle addicts out there who will get  a lot more out of this than I did, but if you’re generally on the fence about physics puzzlers this one isn’t going to convince you otherwise.    

Arcadelife rating: 62/100

Version reviewed by Arcadelife is 1.1

iTunes link

Ink Ball HD website link

Arcadelife played and reviewed this game on:
iPad (OS 4.3.1)
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