Socioball is a new iOS-exclusive game that saw its first incarnation as the brain child of indie developer Apoorva Joshi and was later developed in collaboration with Yellow Monkey Studios, the makers of Huebrix. The objective of every level is simple: get a ball from point A to point B by filling in missing tiles. At first, all this involves is filling in gaps with blank tiles, but the levels’ complexity gradually ramps up with the introduction of new tiles (such as one that teleports the ball to another location) and by restricting the placement of tiles.
The game guides you through over 60 levels of varying difficulty. Overall, the levels were fun and challenging, however the game does not score your method for completing a level (like Angry Birds or Hitman: Go) which made me wonder if, at times, I had completed the level as the game expected or if I was outsmarting it.
Growing up, I had a bit of an obsession with Hot Wheels tracks. I remember begging my parents for a set several Christmases in a row. When I eventually did get one, it was a fairly tame, without some of the bells and whistles I had dreamt about. I still enjoyed it tremendously, even if my most complex track involved sending cars off the tracks to their doom. With its creation mode, Socioball captures the joy I had playing with those sets. The pre-made levels may be good, but where it really excels is in allowing people to be creative by giving them the tools to easily create their own levels. To share these levels, the game allows you to tweet an image of the level. Anyone can then download and play the level using the data embedded in each tweet. No fuss, no trouble, the game just pulls player-made levels off Twitter and lists them for easy browsing. Ingenious and simple. The community has already come up with devious levels that I can never hope to complete.
To view levels, you click a button and a list of the levels is pooled from Twitter. You cannot preview a level before downloading one, but thankfully downloads are almost instantaneous. Some levels are highlighted by stars, but there is no indication on whether this is based on popularity or if they have been curated by the developers. A simple interface showing popular levels for each week or levels created by those you follow on Twitter would have been a nice touch, but as it stands it’s a missed opportunity considering the genius of the underlying tech powering the level sharing.
Lim Li Yang (@limliyang) January 21, 2015
Minimalism is seen in just about every aspect of the game. The graphics are simple and pleasing. There were moments when I wished I could rotate the camera, but they were few and far between. While the sound design is adequate, it is a little too understated to lend it any charm. The game plays well both on a phone or tablet, but definitely benefits from the extra screen real estate.
Socioball is a well-executed game that is well worth the money, especially when you consider the unlimited amount of content the community is bound to produce.
Alex Real (@PwnerOmega) January 20, 2015