The initial anger from Metroid Prime: Federation Force's reveal has calmed a bit. Now's time for us to take a look at the Blast Ball game included in that title. Daan has some hands-on impressions that you can read below. Please enjoy that and look forward to more coming soon! See you in a few, short hours.
When Federation Force was announced, the majority of Metroid fans weren't happy. It's understandable how expectations made many so bitter. When I first saw the trailer, I was sour on it as well and didn't quite know how to react. The thing is, I was at least willing to give the title a shot. Sadly, the actual game wasn't showcased at E3 and we will have to wait to see more. We did get a chance to try Blast Ball, which is an entirely separate mode that focuses on quick bursts of fun. Does it deliver?
The best way I can describe Metroid Prime: Blast Ball is football/soccer with guns. Okay, that description is a little basic, but it gives you a good idea of what the game plays like. With your trusty laser gun, you will have to guide a ball to the opponent's goal to score points. With timed simple and charge shots, you work with your team to achieve victory.
At first, this proved sort of tricky. I wasn't sure which shots would prove effective and the first match ended in a major loss for my team. You need time to learn the ropes and discover what strategies are needed to ultimately prevail. What I learned quickly is to strafe and lock on to the ball with the L-button. This way, it will be easier to time your shots and move the ball closer to the other side. Another important factor is using the motion controls, which can be activated by pressing R. This ensures that you aim at specific points on the ball, so you can help nudge it in the right direction. The controls were fun to toy around with and during my third match, which lead to me fully understanding what Blast Ball was asking of me.
These basic elements can also be used to target your opponents. If you flick the ball correctly, you send it flying right into an enemy bot. This will cause him/her to lose power. When you lose all of your energy, you will be ejected out of the game for a little while. It gives the idea that a match can always be turned around and creates various opportunities to throw anyone off guard. This can also be accomplished by collecting items, which will appear on the field and can be activated by pressing Y. Shields and instant refill of your laser tank forces the other team to react, while the instant eject from their bots will plunge them into chaos.
While the matches started a little slow, the special balls that appear instantly change the rules. One that I encountered was a bouncy ball, which moved incredibly fast and would fly all over the field. Another example was a ball with an electromagnetic field. This would cause more devastation and this made everyone more hesitant to make a move. What I really hope for is that you can select these versions and use them for the entirety of a match. With custom rules and a lot of freedom, I can see this being really addictive.
If Next Level Games can add a ton of options to this, there will be something quite engaging for players. Blast Ball could be a big party, but keeping things isolated to a single stage could prove rather mundane. The gameplay is madness, but if not enough is done to make constantly feel fresh, players could quickly become bored. That being said, I am excited to see what the developers will come up with. They got me hooked!