A few years ago, I wrote about Influx, a fun little game about rolling a ball around an island and solving mysterious puzzle rooms that populated that island. Earlier this week, Dexterity Ball 3D launched onto Steam from game developer Quandary Solutions, and the game initially reminded me of Influx…largely because it too is a game about rolling a lone ball around.
Beyond the immediately obvious similarities, the two games begin to differ upon closer examination. Where Influx was part relaxing ball-rolling, part relaxing puzzle solving…Dexterity Ball 3D is an energetic game filled with ticking clocks and high-techy music and sound effects. The game comes stocked with two gameplay modes, Speed Run and Endurance. In Speed Run players can see how long it takes them to progress through a level by picking up the predesignated orbs, and in Endurance players can see how long they can last against a counting-down timer that is reset a few seconds for each orb that is picked up.
Both modes are pretty standard experiences and I was easily able to figure out what I was supposed to do just moments into the game. The gameplay isn’t what was challenging, it was the controls that kicked the difficulty up a notch. In short, the camera system is not ideal. Playing Dexterity Ball 3D on my Xbox 360 gamepad had me using the right joystick to pan the camera around, but there was only a small vertical angle where the camera was useful, otherwise the camera was too low to the ground and you couldn’t see where you were going, or it was too high and you were stuck looking straight down at the ball. Adding to that is the necessity to pan the camera side to side to make turns more efficiently. I ended up always having to adjust the camera’s pitch every time I navigated a turn, which got old very quickly.
Other than the wonky camera issues, the controls worked very well. As I suspected, playing Dexterity Ball 3D with the gamepad worked great and I had no trouble getting used to the controls, primarily because beyond using the joysticks to move and for camera controls, there really aren’t that many other controls. Hitting the right bumper bounced the ball in the air a bit, and hitting B would reset my ball back to the latest checkpoint. That’s all there is to it.
I really just got the sense that Dexterity Ball 3D was rushed out. There were numerous occasions where the textures would flicker, obvious graphic bugs, and there was one instance where I was smashed inside an inescapable platform. Luckily resetting the stage to the last checkpoint is as easy as pressing B on the gamepad, but still, I couldn’t help but feel like Dexterity Ball 3D could have benefited from a few more levels of polish.
Dexterity Ball 3D could be a really fun experience, as I really liked how some of the levels were designed, but it is ultimately the camera issues and its rough-around-the-edges presentation that hold it back.
Dexterity Ball 3D was reviewed using a retail key provided by the developer.