Madballs (XBLA) Review | Worth Playing in 2023?

Let’s put aside all the funny Madballs jokes I thought of when I got the task to review this game and start with what Madballs are. This review will give you all the nostalgic feelings if you’re a millennial. I couldn’t exactly find any clips from the TV show from the 80s, but I have a feeling that some of you will still have some of the madballs toys. Madballs were these cool, little collectible bouncing balls with faces that were meant to give you a bit of a shock. (yes they were for the kids but only 90s kids.)

Madballs Comeback & A New Game

Recently, this franchise has been making a comeback, which naturally means a new video game. Luckily, this Madballs game is a big step up from the dull Commodore 64 version. The gameplay is quite easy to get: you just roll through the stages and fire away at anything that crosses your path.

Madballs Character Design

madballs

What’s odd about Madballs is that every character and enemy is a sphere. Typically, a game’s unique feature or theme adds personality to it, but in this case, it might be doing the opposite: if the artists were allowed more freedom, it might have made the game feel more lively. That’s not to say it doesn’t look good, because it does.

But a more imaginative character design could have made it even better. I mean balls rolling around feels like playing pool without the cues.

Most importantly, especially for a game of this nature, it handles well. Aiming and dodging quickly is straightforward and, most of all, enjoyable. The camera took a bit of time to get used to, but overall, I was game ready in less than five minutes and that’s good. There are also puzzles and obstacles to add some flavor to the action, which makes this game feel like a blend of Marble Madness and Gauntlet.

Like any good game today, there are many items to collect. As you defeat enemies, you’ll keep unlocking new weapons and characters. There’s ample opportunity to revisit previous levels with newfound abilities. Your main goal will be to unlock weapons, as there are some real gems in this game. From double machine guns to shotguns, to even a cool rail gun that can release a wave of missiles. Mostly, I stuck with the rail gun because even though it fires slowly, it’s incredibly gratifying to use.

Madballs Game Modes

While the solo game will keep you busy for a bit, the option to team up with other players for the campaign adds a lot to this game. With a lack of solid co-op games out there, this could be Madballs’ winning card for the Xbox 360. Because the action isn’t too intense, nearly every player can enjoy this experience.

There are also online death match modes that are quite entertaining, with features like swapping speed for size and multipliers. You can even replace your madballs with your own XBLA Avatar’s head, which adds a fun twist.

Madballs Combat

The combat is pretty straightforward; if you don’t take it too seriously, you can have a great time here, especially with the exciting capture the flag mode. Hopefully, more players will join, as there weren’t many games when I was playing.

Madballs might not be the most flashy or unique game on Xbox Live, but it certainly has guts. The solo game is a solid play that improves with more players. Right now, the game is quite good, but if you manage to get some friends to join you online, this game might just become a hidden gem.

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