Some apps are complicated, beautiful beasties that take a while to master and cost a fair bit. Then there are apps that are simplistic, easy to learn, yet can become far more addictive than the intricately designed ones.
When looking for apps to review for this column, I sometimes have to find ones that I can try out quickly without going through pages of instructions or multiple tutorials. Enter the Hue Ball app.
It doesn’t get much simpler than Hue Ball. In fact, it seems to think it’s so easy to pick up, that it offers no assistance whatsoever. I wasn’t sure I was so keen on going into it headfirst without some sort of guidance, but then I thought “Vicki! This is your moment! Sink or swim! Do or die!” I took a deep breath, jumped in, and prepared to discover what Hue Ball was all about.
How it works
From the moment you open the app, you are faced with a multi-layered circle and the word “PLAY” in the middle. You can absolutely tap on the three icons along the bottom of the screen, go bananas, but help is not at hand.
The first icon, which looks like lots of interlocking circles, takes you to the leader board and a challenges list. The top player had around 477 points when I looked. That didn’t seem like much, as I had nothing to compare it to before I played. After my first two attempts, my respect for the leader went through the roof. That guy was a god!
The challenges section is for friends to challenge you, allowing you possibly to win achievement points … or disappear into a pit of despair. One of the two.
The “i” icon in the bottom middle of the screen just leads to information about who provided the music and who created the app. Whoop-eh-dee-do-dah. How about door number three?
Well, the cogs that, as usual, reference the area where you can change settings, do not disappoint. Here you can turn the music and sounds on and off, and if you haven’t purchased the full version, you can do so here to remove the ads. Know what you can’t do? Find instructions.
So once you’ve spent a bit of time exploring all of these options, you can’t put off playing the game any longer. Tap “PLAY” and go!
What you’ll see are a few stationary disks on the screen, and what looks like a cannon swinging back and forth through about 270 degrees. When you tap the cannon, it sends a similar disk flying out at an angle, and you’ll soon gather that you need it to hit the stationary ones to gain points.
As you’re sending ammo flying out, you’ll also see a pale green large circle starting to close in on the game space. At the same time, your moving disks will begin to slow down and will finally become stationary like the others.
The green circle is your timer, and when it runs out, the remaining disks on the screen gain another layer. When you start shooting again, you’ll see that you have to strike those disks twice to get the points.
You’ll learn to start bouncing things off walls to get multiple hits and better angles. You’ll also wonder what that heart symbol in the bottom right hand corner does … until you realize that every time a circle makes it down to the line, it makes a not so attractive noise, and the heart symbol reacts. That’s the sound of you losing lives.
In theory, you can keep going forever. The timer isn’t the problem as much as the heart thingy is. Therefore, the best advice is to shoot as far up as you can so your ammunition doesn’t make it back down. Of course, if you don’t eliminate enough disks, they’ll get multiple layers and take up enough space that you won’t have any choice; but one worry at a time. You’ll know they’re too large when they start turning into skulls – never a good sign.
When I played it
Honestly, at the beginning I was pretty stumped. I was trying to shoot disks out randomly, but because I wasn’t hitting anything, I wasn’t getting how the game worked. That pale green shadow closing in on the center didn’t help either. I just felt like so much was going on at once. I was panicking, but I didn’t know why. Anyone would have thought there were real lives on the line.
It was only after about three attempts that I understood some of what had to be done, as my aim actually created a hit, which in turn released a floating “+1” announcement. I had a point! Yay!
I confess that I did take a look at the Internet to see if it could shed some light on those extra layers the disks were gaining, and the heart at the bottom. I probably would have figured it out for myself, but hey – I had a column to write.
At least my research helped me see why I was losing lives so quickly.
Hue Ball has many addictive qualities, and when you’re good with how it works, you’ll spend the rest of your time trying to master it and get on that leader board. I played it about 10 times and my highest score was 18. Certainly puts that top person with 477 in perspective. I’ve got a lot of work to do.
Pros: Free. Fun. Addictive.
Cons: No instructions.
Hue Ball by Unept
- Cost: Free ($1.99 to remove ads)
- Seller: Artunian Group, LLC
- Devices: iOS and Android
- Rating: E for Everyone
- Three stars