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5 Feb 2022

REVIEW: Bang-On Balls: Chronicles on PC (Steam)

Review by Jon Donnis
Despite the rather silly name, there is a proper little game here in Bang-On Balls: Chronicles. You control a ball, that is your character. You start the game in a warehouse of sorts, no real instruction of what to do, or where to go, outside of a few arrows, but as you search around the level you will find collectables, the most important being film reels, for these are what open up the levels. If you see a TV screen, you can dash into it, the first TV screen you see is right at the start. This is basically a control tutorial level, a simple obstacle course to get you familiar with how the game works.

Once you finish that you are back in the warehouse, have a good look around and you will find 3 arcade games, dash into the screens and you have 3 different mini games to play. The smashing up of cars was my favourite, even if it seemed strangely hard to finish off the destruction of a car.

Further explore the warehouse, get into the vents, climb up on top of scaffolding, if you see a treasure chest, dash into it to open it, and collect the goodies. After a while however you may be wondering "is that it", just like I did. For I couldn't seem to find any more TVs to dash into, but I know there was more to the game, as I had seen the official screenshots. Eventually I collected a second film reel and opened a door, and low and behold I am now in a new room in the warehouse, and there is a TV in the corner. Dash into that and my journey has now properly begun. The first proper level of the game is a Viking based level, destroy some Viking boats,  rescue some imprisoned villages, and collect those all-important film reels to unlock the next level.

And that is pretty much how the game works.

Think of Bang-On Balls: Chronicles as a nonlinear platformer, where you really have to explore, collect items, smash things as well as complete the required tasks. You can even customise your character as you progress, for some reason I have a piece of cheese on my head. 

There are different "countries" for levels, and although this game is still "Early Access", it has progressed enough that there is a decent amount of content here to keep you busy,.

I played the single player mode, but you can play multiplayer with up to 4 people playing at once.

The Good
Graphically this game really surprised me, it is really high quality, and although this may cause some performance issues, even if you turn down the graphics level, everything still looks great. The game plays well, and your ball moves easy enough, and the various options for movement, like dash, jump, double jump, shield, vacuum, and so on, all become a second thought, as you get used to the game.

The Bad
I wonder if a better menu system, and an easier way to access the levels would be a good idea. I spent way too much time not really understanding what I was supposed to do, or where to go. However, once you do figure it out, even if by luck, that will make you feel a whole lot more comfortable with the game.

Ignoring a few graphical bugs, and performance issues, this is a good little game, a few tweaks here and there to make it more accessible, and this could do some really good business for the developers.

As it is an easy access game, my score is with that in mind. So, as it is right now, I score Bang-On Balls: Chronicles on PC (Steam) a very fair 7/10

Out now on Steam Early Access

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