Gregg’s Rolling With Playstation Network’s Switchball

Playstation Network's SwitchballOne of the more unique arrivals on the Playstation Network is the game Switchball.  Brought to us by developer Atomic Elbow, Switchball offers a very wide array of ingenuity and entertainment that you’ll be hard-pressed to find in other games.  This recent addition to the PSN library is another welcomed debut for an already impressive lineup of downloadable games.  What is Switchball all about?  Let’s roll out to find out!

 Playstation Network's Switchball


Remember the old wooden labyrinth game you might have come across as a kid?  It was that square box with two knobs on the side.  The idea was to tilt the game top at just the right time while you guided a ball bearing over the maze-like surface.  Fast-forward that concept to the Playstation 3 and viola!  You have Switchball!  Not really carrying a story, Switchball is a game where you control a marble that you must get from start to finish on a variety of tracks.  Sound simple enough?  Here’s the catch; there are an assortment of obstacles that you must push, nudge and bash through or weave around in order to get to the next save gate on the track and ultimately, to the end. 

 Playstation Network's Switchball

Graphics & Playability

The graphics are clean and display a beautiful softness that brilliantly contrasts the teetering-on-the-edge, tension-mounting track-play you will face throughout the game.  Delivered in 720p resolution, you will find the infinite baby blue sky to offer an eye-catching, abyssal feeling, of which you certainly want your marble to avoid, especially in cases when you are on a section of wood-plank track devoid of guard rails, just hovering above a bottomless doom.  Fine graphic details are not a focus of Switchball, but only because they do not need to be.  The simulated grain in the wood, the riveted iron boxes and the sheen of polished granite boulders are more than enough to draw you to this spherical addiction.

The true beauty of Switchball is its playability.  The learning curve is short yet the challenges the game offers keep it fresh with an above average replay value.  Also in the game is the ability to morph your marble at various stations that dot the landscape.  Physics are a significant focus as morphing into the heavier metal ball has its pros and cons.  While you can just bowl right over some obstacles in this form, it is a serious drawback when you have to roll over areas of thin cloth as your almighty sphere will tear right through the fabric and fall to its demise.  At the same token, you will the need speed and agility of the default marble for those areas requiring a build-up of momentum or the ability to not fall through weak parts of the track.  Other ball-switching capabilities include the air ball and the power ball.    

In addition to the morphing points, there are also save gates that you will roll through, thus saving your progress up to that point in your current level.  These destinations are extremely helpful when you come across those puzzles you just can’t seem to figure out or you’re at a spot where you just can’t keep the ball from going over the edge. 

 Playstation Network's Switchball


For a game with such a simple concept, it certainly does provide its fair share of options.  You can choose between single or multiplayer, standard or timed mode and Sixaxis or standard control (using the left thumbstick to move and the right for the camera angle).  The full range of worlds include tracks set against the sky, icy mountains, caves, clouds and finally lava.  With six stages in each of the five worlds and 12 unique PSN trophies to be had, Switchball is an absolute gem that will draw out your concentration while delivering hours of enjoyment in return.   

 Playstation Network's Switchball


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