Madballs in … Babo: Invasion (XBLA)

By Steven Marsh

Published on Thursday, September 3, 2009

Graphics: 7.00
Sound: 7.00
Gameplay: 8.00
Replays: 7.50
Gamelength: 7.00

“Madballs in … Babo: Invasion” by Playbrains is a fun title with a lengthy campaign, but is that enough to hold the game together?

These days, top-down action games are a dime a dozen. Developers everywhere are using the exact same formula with a different theme, but most of those games are dull. This time, however, developer Playbrains has created great top-down shooter that’s likely to stand out amongst those who play the game. So then, it’s time to join the Madballs in their first game, “Madballs in … Babo: Invasion” for the Xbox 360.

For an Xbox Live Arcade game, this is pretty average as far as eye candy goes. There’s a good bit of polish, decent textures, basic lighting; all of the usual stuff. The only thing that really stands out is the characters, seeing as they’re random balls with different faces and costumes. As for the environments, they’re just about what you would expect from a game like this. You’ll be running through lava-filled areas, Egyptian-themed areas and all sorts of other random places. If nothing else, the level design is pretty damn varied.

Games like this generally have electronic or heavy rock soundtracks. For that reason, this game is far from unique in the sound department. That’s not to say the music is bad, rather it’s just nothing that hasn’t been heard before. There’s a bit of electronic rock, as well as pure electronic music all throughout the game. Weapons have a very arcadey sound and the character voices are sub-par at best. Still, the music is pretty good and definitely helps to ramp up the feel of the intense action.

From the very beginning of the game, it’s very obvious that this is a game based around the same concept of nonstop action as old classics, such as “Smash TV”. After being forced to go through an obstacle course that works as a very effective gameplay tutorial, you’re placed into level after level of nonstop action. Your goal is simple: Move from area to area and kill everything that gets in your path, all while collecting as many score multipliers as you possibly can. Along the way, you’ll unlock and find new weapons and power-ups. There are a decent amount of weapons and they’re all pretty good, but it can take quite a long time to unlock them all for use in the story mode. The same goes for power-ups, although you’ll get any weapons and power-ups that are a necessity as soon as you need them. As for using all of that nifty stuff, it’s as simple as tilting the joystick in the proper direction and hitting the proper button to unleash a volley of fire and lay opponents to waste. There’s really not much else to the game, but an online deathmatch is available for anyone who can actually find an active game. I have yet to find an active game at varying hours of the day and I’ve tried quite a few times, so don’t count on the multiplayer being available unless you have friends who buy the game to play with you! The game does get a few points for replay value for those who like the game enough to complete the harder difficulties, seeing as the game does get significantly more challenging with each higher difficulty. Otherwise, that’s about all there is to this game!

Overall, Playbrains did a good job, but it feels like something is missing. Maybe that “special something” will show up if there’s ever a second game.

Pros:
+Nonstop action.
+Easy to control.
+Difficulty curve is perfect for any style of gamer.
+Lots of guns and power-ups.
+Satisfying combat.

Cons:
-Online community seems to be non-existent.
-Can be very repetitious.

Bottom line:
“Madballs in … Babo: Invasion” is a good game if you can get into it, but it’s definitely a game for the hardcore top-down shooter fans.

Overall Rating: 7.50

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