Boom Ball: Boost Edition (Switch) Review
Easy to pick up and play
Touch controls responsive and engaging
Cool customization options
Not much variety in gameplay
Bland music and visuals
Motion controls kind of wonky
Dropped the (Boom) Ball
During every console’s lifespan, there will be games that are little more than tech demos: small games that are meant to show off a certain aspect or feature of a console and nothing more. Enter Boom Ball: Boost Edition. Originally conceived as a game for the Xbox One Kinect, it has now made it’s way to Nintendo’s newest wonder, the Switch, ostensibly to show off its motion controls. Is it worth springing for? Or should this ball boom alone? I realize that doesn’t make any sense, but I digress.
To put it simply, Boom Ball: Boost Edition is like old Blackberry standby Brick Breaker, but in 3-D. While playing docked, you hold one joy-con in each hand, representing paddles with which to hit a ball. Once the ball is put in play, you move the paddles independently by moving your wrists (the game is very adamant about this) and knock it against 3-D bricks until they are all broken, or until you run out of balls and lose. Rinse and repeat across 60 levels, through a desert world, an ice world, and various other standard video game locales.
These bricks are usually in fun shapes, like animals or even in the shape of a well. As the ball knocks about the square “arena”, you move the paddles to try to direct the ball to the bricks you want to break. Each brick you break fills the “boom” meter, which, when full, allows explosive balls to lock on to remaining bricks. The gameplay is simple. In fact, outside of what I’ve described above, there is very little variation on that formula, short of certain powerups that can be found in some suspiciously familiar boxes adorned with question marks.
Beside the docked joy-con control scheme, an undocked touch-screen control scheme is available as well. While playing in this mode, one simply has to tap the ball in order to set it loose on the evil bricks, with a simple swipe in any direction skewing the balls trajectory in said direction. I found this mode to be the most enjoyable, as the motion controls of the Switch are noticeably more finicky compared to the Kinect, or even the original Wii.
The aesthetic of the game is simple (seeing a theme?) with crude models for the 3D bricks. Luckily, there are a few customization options to help jazz up the so-so visuals. Things like different skins for the paddles, my favorite being the ducks, helped make up for the lacking presentation aspects. The music was pretty generic as well, with maybe one or two tracks per world, and nothing stood out to me or demanded my attention.
What merit this game does have is in its mindless entertainment, much like many mobile games of this ilk. If you are on public transportation and have a few minutes to kill, then sure, why not boot this up and break some blocks. If you’re looking for a party or puzzle game with more substance, it might be best to look elsewhere. The final thing to consider is the price. Is this kind of shallow entertainment worth the $12.99 asking price? I suppose that requires a subjective answer, but for this reviewer, the answer is: probably not. If this title does sound like it might be up your alley, it’s available now for Nintendo Switch, for that $12.99 price that I mentioned earlier. Grab your joy-cons or do your finger stretches and pick up Boom Ball: Boost Edition, if you dare.