Dots Ball is…hmmmm; it’s a bit tough to categorize. It isn’t exactly an action platform or a puzzle game. It’s neither a turn-based RPG nor a shooter. You just tilt your iDevice and bounce the ball up the field of dots.
The game sends you on a mission to find out what’s going on with your dot friends. When you get there, you find out the dots have been invaded by Corey Hart (they’re wearing their sunglasses at night…) and are being forced to mine crystals. Since only really mean people are okay with slave labor (and we’re not them) I guess it’s up to us to help the Dots out.
The field of play is fairly sparse, but with the dots and the ball both in motion you don’t really notice there is almost no real background scenery. You will also notice that the notes the dots produce when you bounce on them will play out the game’s theme song.
How does it work?
Game play is very easy; just tilt your iDevice left or right to influence where the ball will fall. The accelerometer will guide the ball according to the amount of tilt, so be careful with how much you tip your iDevice. Get the ball to land on a dot to make it bounce upward. If you miss and can’t hit a dot before reaching the bottom of the screen, you die and have to start over at the beginning.
Avoid the dots with sunglasses and the bottoms of the non dot obstacles, which simply pop you like a balloon. Some of the dots you bounce on will do different things for or to you. Teal dots act like a light switch; bounce on them once and your field of view is reduced to a small spot of light round the ball. But if you bounce on the same teal dot again, the lights will come back on. White dots are an energy boost, and you should keep your eyes open for these.
Since we’re on the subject of energy, you should note that each bounce costs one point of energy. There are three waypoints along your energy reserves indicator. As you reach each waypoint, your ball decreases in size, making it a bit more challenging to land on a dot.
There are some other helpers in the game, like a dotsquid that will fly you for a few seconds. There are also other pitfalls, like occasional areas of purple dots that explode after you bounce on them the first time, so be careful where you aim—if you miss on the way down, you die and have to start over at the beginning.
Actually there is a theme there.
Is it contagious?
Dots Ball is not that bad, but the pattern of dying with any error is a bit annoying. This is an all or nothing game— either you make it all the way in one attempt or it’s “game over.” It didn’t really engage me enough to play into the higher levels, but I’m sure it can occupy some of the gamers out there with its element of whimsy.