Balliland XL is a smash-hit iPhone game that’s just made its way to Android. Or I’m sure that’s how the developers like to think of it. A quick glance at the iTunes Store, however, tells a slightly different story. The reviews of all versions, while good, aren’t exactly plentiful. We’d suggest that Balliland XL is a more of an undiscovered iOS gem than a ‘smash-hit’. Anyway, if it were appalling, we’d be strapping on our size nines right now ready to give it a shoeing. Thankfully, it’s not half bad.
Balliland is simple enough to play. You have three balls that you must align in a straight row next to each other by pushing them around the screen. The problem is, if there are no obstacles in the balls path they fly straight off the screen and are reset in the position they started in. The tricky part is moving your balls around the screen in the correct order to ensure they come to rest in a neat line. Not easy.
In the tradition of simple, but infuriatingly tricky games, Balliland is infuriatingly addictive. As you progress through the 120 levels, you’ll come up against a huge variety of obstacles including saws intent on slicing your balls in half (if you’ll pardon the expression) and bombs that’ll blow them to smithereens. Each level is meticulously drawn and it’s clear that a lot of thought and development has gone into Balliland to make it as slick as possible.
As you play, you earn hints that allow you to extricate yourself from seemingly impossible spots, although the hints are so cryptic that we actually found them more of a hindrance than a help… However, should you find yourself stuck, there’s a ‘back’ button handily placed at the bottom left of the screen. Tap that and you can undo your moves one-by one.
We experienced a number of force closes early on during our Balliland review, although these were exclusively during loading as opposed to mid-game where they would be less of an irritation and more of a nail in its coffin.
As puzzle games go, Balliland is tricky to fault, there’s plenty of variety and a raft of promised puzzle packs on their way. It just goes to show that simplicity
If we were forced to fault it, we’d say that the in-game advertising can be a little intrusive at times but it doesn’t actually intrude on gameplay, preferring to ply its wares within the menu system or in a banner perched at the top of the screen.
The Bottom Line
Addictive puzzler that’s few minor flaws aren’t enough to dampen our enthusiasm.
Version reviewed 1.0
Requires Android 2.1 or higher