Puzzle games are a guilty pleasure of mine. Honestly, I’m never quite “pumped” to go home and tackle one of the many puzzles in my Steam library. But when I do take the time, generally for a review, I enjoy it immensely. There’s just something meditative about really having to think and properly time everything you do in order to win. It’s games like this which cause you to shout out in victory or swear in frustration.
Road to Ballhalla is one such game. It’s also kind of a dick. In Road to Ballhalla, you play a small, colorful ball of energy and it’s your job to navigate said ball through several levels of obstacles in hopes of one day reaching Ballhalla! If only it were that simple.
Throughout each level you’ll frequently find lines of “floor text” written somewhere on the stage. These lines of texts generally offer advice on that particular area’s obstacle, but not always. Other times they encourage you to try something that will likely get you killed! Then once you try what the advice says and die, it mocks you afterwards! It’s actually pretty hilarious.
Something that you might have noticed immediately in the trailer (besides all the deaths) is the music. Road to Ballhalla has what’s called “rhythm-driven gameplay.” This means that even the most dangerous traps and hazards move in time to the stage’s music, with sound effects to match.
Snarky Floor Text: “Lesson 3: We’re going to skip the next 108 lessons, because they would actually help you.”
There’s more to Road to Ballhalla than just bad (ball?) puns and sweet music though. While not the most difficult puzzle game I’ve encountered, which to this day goes to Archer Maclean’s Mercury, it’s still incredibly challenging as no level is even close to being the same. This is by design.
Rather than focusing on quantity, the developers, tinyBuild GAMES, went for quality. They put a lot of time and effort into making sure each level felt fresh with its own unique challenges, components and…puns. It worked too. Each stage did feel independent of its predecessors, with nothing reused or recycled.
Road to Ballhalla definitely offers you a new perspective when it comes to puzzle games
Once a stage is completed you get scored and earn a certain number of tokens. These tokens unlock options to customize your ball, such as its color and light trail. There’s also secret areas to discover, a community level creator, Twitch integration and “rush mode.” Rush mode is essentially a speed run option that allows you to compare your time and score with other players.
That being said, I found no such secret areas myself nor created my own level. I did play around with the community editor though. It’s an external application and fairly user friendly.
The red ones are called “warballs”
As far as puzzle games go, Road to Ballhalla is top notch; definitely a fun addition to any puzzle lover’s library. My only real issue with it is the $15 price point. While I am grateful the devs did not skimp on quality, the game still isn’t very long. I completed 37% of the campaign after only playing for 1.5 hours. Still a great game none the less! If nothing else, the puns will have you ROLLING in your grave. I’m SPHEREious.
This review is based on a retail copy of the game provided by the publisher.
Roll Playing Game of the Year
Gameplay - 10/10
Challenge - 8/10
Design - 10/10
It's fun to play with balls. Who knew?
It's not often a game will have you focusing intensely one minute then cracking up the next after being (t)rolled to death...literally.
Phenomenal game for anyone looking for greatness...round, spherical greatness. And ball puns.