Was Playing With My Balls Always This Difficult?
HIGH Controls are tight, and the music absolutely slaps.
LOW No one is online to play with.
Antonball combines the addictive gameplay of Breakout (the game where players use a paddle to hit a ball repeatedly into breakable blocks) with the easy-to-understand 2D platforming reminiscent of the 8-bit legends of the genre. So, instead of moving a platform back and forth, gamers control of a character hopping and dropping between platforms to block the ball from going out-of-bounds and continue their volley until every breakable block is demolished.
The game offers six different worlds, each with several stages that differ depending on the mode.
The main mode, Antonball, has players going through levels breaking blocks as described above, along with level offering slideshow cutscenes to give a loose context for why characters are doing this. For example, the game begins with main character Anton stumbling and dropping through a hole into the sewer. It’s kept short and simple, but in comparison to the games that inspired it (which had no story), it’s Shakespeare.
The other single-player mode is Punchball, which follow’s Anton’s female counterpart Annie, striving for first place in a newly invented sport. This mode takes the ball-bouncing platformer aspect and mixes it with stages reminiscent of the original Mario Bros, with players throwing their ball around to knock out enemies and then kick them off the field.
I honestly enjoyed Punchball more than the standard Antonball mode, although that may have to do with me performing significantly better in that mode. The game does not shy away from difficulty, though it does give players the ability to start over at the beginning of the last world they entered (instead of the very beginning of the game) and the level of challenge feels appropriate for the genre and aesthetic.
Antonball also has multiplayer options including “VS. Antonball” and online play for all three modes. Unfortunately, at the time of writing I live alone and could not find anyone to play with online after multiple attempts. The silver lining is that should players have friends in mind to specifically play with, setting up a lobby and going for it should be a breeze.
Antonball includes extras earned by collecting points from playing and spending them on a virtual gacha machine that can award new playable characters and music tracks to listen to.
The options offered in-game are adequate, with four (small) preset resolutions and a full-screen option as well as some personal options like screen filters or whether players want a visible ball trail. There are no in-game sound options though, and while the music is incredibly catchy, the lack of internal volume control may be annoying to some. (I adjusted it using my computer’s volume mixer since the default volume is loud, and I tend to play YouTube videos in the background while I play).
Antonball is a great little package of classic-looking, feeling and sounding videogame goodness. Combining two simple concepts in unique ways to create new flavors of engaging gameplay is always great to see from studios showing an appreciation for the medium and a mind for ingenuity. Given this, Antonball is a safe pick-up for anyone with an itch for something old-school, yet still fresh.
— Mitch Zehe
Disclosures: This game is developed by Summitsphere and published by Proponent Games. It is currently available on PC. This copy of the game was obtained via publisher and reviewed on the PC. Approximately 4 hours of play were devoted to the single-player mode, and the game was not completed. 0 hours of play were spent in multiplayer modes.
Parents: According to the ESRB, this game is rated RATING PENDING. The game features some mild cartoon violence.
Colorblind Modes: There are no colorblind modes available.
Deaf & Hard of Hearing Gamers: This game offers subtitles. The subtitles cannot be altered and/or resized (see examples above and below.) There are no audio cues necessary to play this game, it is fully accessible.
Remappable Controls: Yes, this game offers fully remappable controls.