Finnish developer, and Kinect enthusiasts, Virtual Air Guitar Company, have held the Xbox peripheral in high regard, churning out some quality titles while many others, both gamers and developers alike have cast it aside and mostly forgotten about it. I naturally still have mine, and have played most Kinect games for Xbox One. Now, they’ve completed the trilogy for Boom Ball, with the aptly named Boom Ball 3. Is it more of the same, or does it do anything new to rejuvenate the series?
First things first, yes, there are some new features for Boom Ball 3, albeit only a small amount. It’s a winning formula for the Indie outfit, so why change too much, lest they ruin what is working well for them? So what has been added this time around? Well, your paddles can now be customised. How so, you ask? Do you fancy giving it a new border? Then that’s an option, along with taking a picture for the main body. My very excited daughter wanted her smiling face to adorn my paddles, and much to her delight, I not only allowed her, but she also decided that she would try them out first. Not that I had any say in the matter. A neat little option, and the Kinect captures your chosen image well enough, with no blurred or fuzzy images.
There’s 50 new levels for Boom Ball 3, offering a variety of level designs, from countryside, underwater, and more. As is the custom with the series. Not only that, but there is also a trio of difficulty levels, whereby the higher the challenge, the faster your ball will travel. Not an essential part of playing the game, but if you want that impressive gold medal, then you bet that you have to play the game on Turbo mode. It does mean faster reflexes and movement can only be good cardio exercise. Each level has multiple waves of blocky creations, from animals, vegetables, inanimate objects that reflect the theme of each world.
As VAGC have always stated, they want to create family fun for Kinect, they once again have included 2 player mode for those with friends and family who want to join in the action. It’s not surprise then, that Boom Ball 3 continues the tradition of an enjoyable and responsive gameplay mechanic. As I said earlier, if it works, why change it.
If there’s one criticism, it has to be that it is all over far too quickly. Yes, you can go back and work through completing every level with a gold medal, and finish each level without losing a ball. Or even work towards collecting all the achievements. Maybe some DLC content may work in the future, or it could even be argued that the sequels could have been added as DLC. It still doesn’t stop the series from being downright fun though, and I for one will always enjoy seeing a an upcoming release from the developer, as I know my Kinect will see some action once again.
The soundtracks for each world fits the bill perfectly, and although there was one track that quickly grinds my gears, the rest are easy listening and don’t offend the senses. There’s far worse out there.
Another point to note, is that cosmetic unlocks are gained through natural progression of collecting set amounts of stars from completing levels, rather than being micro-transactions that have plagued big budget games in recent years. A great reason to support Indie developers if this is their frame of mind. Also, it gives you more options to customise your paddles more the further you progress.
Unlike previous installments, 2 players can now move freely around without being confined to a set space. Just make sure that you’ve got ample room to manoeuvre in your living room or bedroom, or you could end up tripping over.
Overall, Boom Ball 3 doesn’t change the formula too much in terms of level design, and the premise. But what it does change makes for a smoother multiplayer experience, and adds some fun customisation options, and improves enough on the previous release enough to warrant a purchase for the Kinect owners still loyal to the almost forgotten peripheral. The usual low price is also worth noting, and won’t empty your wallet so quickly. Fun for everyone, and worth every penny.
Over Score 8/10
Developer: Virtual Air Guitar Company
Publisher: Virtual Air Guitar Company
Release Date 22nd December 2017
Price: £7.99 - €9.99 - $9.99
Xbox One copy provided for review purpose.
Available on Xbox One exclusively.