Do you like physics? Do you have skills? Do you like physics games of skill that involve launching coloured balls into like-coloured vessels and an ensuing smug sense of misplaced superiority? Then good news, new friend, because BucketBall 2, from Komix Games and Gamebalance, is here to meet all of your bouncing, blasting, ARRRGH I WAS SO CLOSE THAT TIME needs! Hurray!
The idea is simple (and similar to the first game in the series, Bucketball). You have balls of various colours, and you have matching buckets on screen. You want to get the ball into the appropriately coloured bucket, by any means necessary. Well... provided those means are clicking on a ball to mark its trajectory, and clicking again to launch it in that direction. Click and hold on a ball, and drag your mouse to pull the ball in the direction of the cursor. Easy, right? Well, except for the magnetic panels. And the teleporters. And the... well, you'll see. Are there rampaging Canadians whose booming "Eh"s reverberate with such force that they impede your projections? You'll have to play to find out. (Hint: There are not, but what a game that would have made, eh?)
The game features premium upgrades and five additional stages that can be purchased through Heyzap. But with fifteen free levels, and another nine that can be unlocked via the appropriate high scores, as it stands BucketBall 2 is the perfect size to fit into that afternoon coffee break.
Analysis: BucketBall 2 is one of those simple games people hang over their friends' shoulders, watching them play and secretly thinking, "I could do better than that." It's the digital equivalent of every puzzle toy every one of us has ever snatched out of a younger sibling's hands and said, "Give me that, you're doing it wrong." Because the trail of thought goes that if it looks simple, it must be easy. (And if someone does better than you, they must be cheating.) BucketBall 2 takes a simple idea, getting something from point A to point B, and shows us how tricky that can be.
Of course, "tricky" here should not be read as "difficult", exactly. While some levels require some timing and reflexes, or feel particularly fiddly, for the most part all that's really required is patience while lining up shots. Implementing challenges, such as medals based on how few shots you used or the time it took you to complete a level, would have been a nice touch and added that all-important stroke to the gamer's ego. "Yes, that's right. I've got gold medals. How many? All of them." As it stands, although it may take you a while to get there, once you're done, you're done.
But even without that aspect, BucketBall 2 is still enjoyable. While the balls themselves feel a little heavy the first few times they're in the air, once you adjust to that aspect, the physics feel more-or-less right for the game. It would have been nice to allow us to earn those upgrades ourselves through our, ahem, mad skills, rather than requiring us to purchase them outright, but I never felt as though I needed them anyway. Sure you can fork over the extra cash for the supremo bouncy upgrade, but it's not necessary to complete the game.
With it's easy to master control scheme and accessible gameplay, BucketBall 2 appeals to a broad range of players, and the new gimmicks that are introduced as you progress through the levels keep the gameplay from feeling stale. If you're looking for lighter fare to fill an hour or two, you'll find something to like about BucketBall 2: Son of BucketBall. Or, wait! How about BucketBall 2: BucketBall Harder?... *sigh* Nobody ever likes my ideas.
You can also Play Bucketball 2 at Gamebalance