Magnetic balls bubble shoot will be immediately familiar to anybody who has played a Puzzle Bobble/Bust-a-Move type game; a mass of colored balls hangs from the top of the screen and it's your job to destroy them.
Tapping the screen will launch a single ball in that direction – if it lands against against two or more of the same colored balls it will “pop”, which removes them. While matching the balls is effortless thanks to reliable controls, there is some strategy involved beyond the basic "put that ball there" gameplay. Creating combos based on how many balls are cleared at once, and choosing the order in which to clear them, give Magnetic balls bubble shoot some welcomed tactical depth.
There are two game modes, "Levels" (which acts as a campaign) and "Arcade" (an endless mode). Levels sees you completing stages in turn, with each one requiring a certain number of points to finish. Points are awarded according to how many balls you pop at once, and you can beat a level and earn between one and three stars, depending on your success within it.
In each stage you are faced with the threat of the timer running out, and also the impending doom of the balls gravitating closer and closer towards the bottom of the screen. Fail to clear them fast enough and you will have to replay the level. The challenge presented in these early levels is quite low, but the difficulty soon ramps up as you progress to the harder settings, and this is when things become really frantic.
The Arcade mode is a single, endless level, which you play indefinitely until you fail. This mode is mostly aimed at those high-score chasers, and offers a change of pace from the campaign.
There are four different "realms" or worlds within Magnetic balls bubble shoot, but they don’t offer much variety aside from different backgrounds and textures. A few gamplay changes to make each setting a bit more unique would have provided more of an incentive to switch between the realms, as it stands this is more like changing the background on your phone's home-screen.
The physics are great, with balls swaying and moving as if being affected by a natural gravitational pull. This can be used to your advantage to swing balls into each other to create larger combos.
The balls hit their target with a sympathetic "clack", but the sound design overall is pretty horrible. There is no music outside of the menus, and the "tick tick tick" of the exploding balls (created when you match four or more colors) may drive you a little crazy. Mute the sound or listen to something else for a better audio experience.
Screen & Controls
The controls are a breeze, the whole game works on single taps and they are always reliable. Tap an icon in the menu, tap the screen to launch a ball. It’s responsive, and easy to direct; any misplaced balls will be your own doing - you've only got yourself to blame.
Speed & Stability
There were no speed or stability issues to speak of in my entire playtest with the game, this is as stable as it gets. But bear in mind that there isn’t a lot to power here; the graphics and gameplay processes are fairly basic.
I used a Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge running Android 5.0.2 as the main test device when conducting the Magnetic balls bubble shoot review, but confirmed the stability when running Android 4.4.4 on an Oppo N3.
The game is free-to-play, with in-app purchases and ads. You can trade your own cash for in-game gold to spend on powering up your balls with special abilities (this is achieved by tapping on the next ball in your queue, though this is never explained), but the good news is that no purchases are necessary to enjoy the game to its full extent.
You can happily play without spending a penny and you also have the option to viewing a video advert to earn in-game cash, should you wish to. The regular in-game ads are a little more intrusive, however, popping up frequently when navigating through the menus.
Magnetic balls bubble shoot is a simple, pick-up-and-play game. While completing levels can be easy at first, the chance to increase the difficulty means the challenge can soon becomes interesting, and beating all of the stages on all difficulties, in all of the realms, will take a long time.
The inclusion of special balls adds something extra to the mix and overall it's a pleasant experience, even without ever being mind-blowing.