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Rating: 3.7/5 (45 votes)
Comments (53) | Views (3,888)
zxoroll.gifBefore there was Cobacoli, there was Roll, a game of balls, angles, spikes and terrain. Roll represents author Ben Gillibanks' first foray into our Casual Gameplay Design Competitions, where its combination of classic gameplay and delicious presentation carried it to the final round of judging.

You're put in control of a medium-sized yellow ball with a mission: destroy the enemy red orbs! It's like McCarthyism all over again! Click the mouse to launch the yellow ball in the direction of the pointer, holding the button down for more power. Use the yellow ball like a cue ball to knock the red balls into spikes or holes. There's a timer, so be fast, but be careful too – you are just as susceptible to the dangers as the red balls! Ice and conveyor belts add another layer of complexity, in ways that are both helpful and hindering.

Analysis: Roll doesn't exactly break a lot of game design molds, but it's a lot of fun to play nonetheless. The control scheme is about as intuitive as you can get, and it's very helpful to be able to redirect yourself before coming to a stop. With a little practice, you'll be able to stop on a dime, even on the frictionless ice. Plus, the ability to control your power gives players multiple options when deciding how best to execute a level – would long, deliberate strokes be appropriate or does this one call for rapid directional bursts?

Although there is no save feature, its fast pace lets you zoom through the first dozen or so of the twenty levels without too many muttered epithets. Still, it might be nice to have a checkpoint halfway through the game, or at least implement a high score board so that there'd be a reason to play all the beginning levels over again.

Roll comes to us with a high level of polish with regard to the visual and audio presentation, especially considering the development timeframe. Although the audio loop is short, it took quite a long time before it began to wear on me, and the pixel art is well-executed and pleasing. The physics seem pretty accurate too, with no collision detection problems.

Cheers to Ben for executing a fun, fast-paced, and all-around impressive game.

Play Roll

An updated version of the game is available to play at Ben's Binary Sun website.


Adding them quickly I see.

Oh, I just came from lazylaces. They say "first!"

Kellyhalia October 2, 2007 7:48 PM

Love the sounds!!!


For a person creating a ball physics flash game, I'll admit it it's pretty good. I like the other games as well.

HARDHEAD11 October 2, 2007 7:55 PM

Wow, that was fun! The balls always seemed to get behind me somehow and I couldn't move forward fast, but I had a blast! Great, great game.


this game had me unintentionally rearranging my desktop icons. getting carried away and clicking and dragging off the game window...lol .....very nice game…put this on a web page surrounded be adsense links and youll make a fortune…lol


The game start great, you notice it could get very interesting but after a few levels i find the conrols frustrating. The visuals are by far better then the rest of the games untill now. Maybe the game would be better if you could control the ball with the arrow keys. grz


Okay, lack of a password/save feature is rather annoying, but otherwise a slick looking game with fantastic physics. I felt a little cheated when the balls fall down a pit--the animation of them shrinking, which gives the perception of them falling away from the screen, gives a bit when the balls get close to the edges of the pit and part of the ball appears to be on the upper floor. It's a bit hard to explain.

Otherwise a very good game! I like how the larger red balls are harder to move than the smaller ones, in a very realistic way.

the_Corruptor October 2, 2007 8:09 PM

Firstly awesome game. I really like how polished it feels.

Secondly... well, I don't really have a secondly yet. Good work!


i agree with scramble125. it gets too monotonous to play all the way through, but you cant quit and start over later. some passwords would be nice.


Level 19 kicked my butt. Level 18 is easy enough if you take things slow and remember Newton's third law (a burst of power in opposite direction to movement will cancel some of the momentum).


Visual/music are well done. The first levels were cool, but it become too hard and annoying to move the ball. Sorry, I wouldn't play it again.


Very nice idea, although somewhat "pinball"-like. Very nice to see continuation of progression after you fail (or, die?). Addition of a password or level entry mechanism would be very nice. I can't seem to finish without interruptions and always have to go back to the beginning tutorials. Easy to pick up and somewhat addicting.


The game had great graphics and math but I was frustrated by the constant variation of difficulty.

Christine October 2, 2007 8:36 PM

This game was pretty easy except for one level that had me frustrated to no end. I took all 10 lives and i still couldn't beat the level with the three balls and three holes. The big ball was too hard. At times I found myself clicking off the screen by accident. I'm sure there's a better way than what i was doing, but i feel like it's not worth playing all the levels to get to that point again just to lose all my lives.


Starts off really fun, but it's just too boring in later levels. I got to ice circles and was ready to quit.


Quite liked this one, and definitely fits the schematic.

Looks pretty good, and plays smoothly. Requires some skill at higher levels, always a good thing.

However, not my cup of tea really. Although this is the most solidly written game so far, I think it lacks a little in originality.


Very polished graphics and sound. The music loops a little too often for my taste, considering how long it takes to complete the game, and I agree with the person who mentioned how the animation of the balls falling down pits seems a bit off, but the presentation is very appealing overall.

Physics are well implemented, and there are a satisfying number of levels. The level design explores each game object, be it conveyor belt or icy patch, just enough without overdoing it. If you had more levels, you'd probably need to add more objects.

The control is the one issue for me. Moving the ball around feels intuitive and correct at the beginning, but as the levels get harder, I start to feel irritated from continually battering my ball against things. You know when a young kid, who isn't quite co-ordinated enough to play mini-golf properly, gets frustrated and just starts hitting the ball over and over without letting it stop until it gets into the darn hole? It's like that. This game brought out a childlike rage in me. Add to that the common flash problem where clicking outside the play area jumps you into another program, and you've got a problem.

Does the control method kill the game? No. It's an attractive game with good level design, and the challenges are essentially fair. I happily fought my way through each level and just barely finished on my first play-through without losing all of my lives to level 19. It's just irritating moving around at times.


This would have been much better in full screen. Accidentally clicking outside of the window is so frustrating. And a save/password function would be good too.


Wow! Very nice entry. Amazingly slick and professional looking, in terms of graphics, sound and physics/control. Great concept, too. The levels started out pretty simple but were devilishly difficult by the end; level 19 almost had me tearing my hair out in frustration. Controlling the ball is a bit difficult, especially on ice or conveyor belts, but that's just part of the challenge. The one thing I might say it needs is a border area around the level, so that clicking outside the window isn't as much of a problem.

Desincarnage October 2, 2007 9:10 PM

Please, add a safety frame!

You spend way too much time playing around the borders, I kept clicking outside whenever the pace picked up a bit!

obtusegoose October 2, 2007 9:10 PM

Very nicely done. Although the short snippet of looping music started to drive me mad, as well as the "clicking outside the playfield" thing. Aside from that, a really good game.


It's a really nice game :)

Final score: 10654

I found "Ice Circles" (level 12 or 16) the most frustrating and annoying by far. If that level wasn't in the game it would have much been more fun :) I think I ran out of time 4 times in a row and fell in the pit once.


A very ambitious game that was executed beautifully.

I beat it my first run through

great level designs except for ice circles which is really hard :P

Gillbanks, well done :D

I also had a problem with clicking outside of the window.

Perhaps because there is no padding between the flash game and the window edges.


Theme: Fits the Ball Physics theme very nicely. The effects of ball mass of collisions makes sense, and the effects of ice and conveyors on friction also makes sense.

Graphics: Graphics are perfect. They're simple, but there's enough detail to make the levels appealing. The player is never in question as to what an object in the game is.

Sound: Music is nice, and levels are not long enough to warrant a huge sound track. More musical themes would be a plus, but there is no negative. Sound effects are likewise simple, non-intrusive, and fit the ball bouncing gameplay.

Replay Value: Aside from maybe doing a second run-through at a later date, there were no replay elements to the game. For the ten-fifteen minutes it took to beat, however, it was highly enjoyable.

Control: The control of the ball feels good. You can click rapidly to build up speed, or charge a burst if you want precise aim. I found in later levels I ignored charging altogether and focused just on the controlled bursts with single clicks. My only only only complaint is that I had a bad habit of clicking out of the window when maneuvering near the edges. The addition of a border window (You could insert scoring and timer elements to make it functional) would eliminate this. Otherwise, the problem was minor.

I have no real suggestions for improvement. This is an excellent, full fledged game that fits the theme and offers just enough to make for a satisfying little casual game.

Good work, Ben!


Yeah I completed the game in 2 tries, got a score of 13,195 with 7 lives left.

LEVEL 19 IS HARD...for me



Well, although the graphics are nice and clean, I think this game could use some skins. Like pumpkins for halloween, ornaments for christmas, hearts for valentines.

Put them in water and make them bumper boats. Stuff like that is cool. It's a great simple game. Great job.

The music could change at every level or so, that would break it up...or change the background color...some other sort of payoff for making the new level, other than making the new level.



On the surface, this game seems so easy - push the ball into the targets. But it quickly becomes obvious that pushing the ball is the simple part; keeping yourself (as the yellow ball) in control is the hard part. The graphics are really well done, and I'll have to come back to this one to play fully.

NotSoWize October 2, 2007 10:16 PM

Christine -

I was stuck there (3 Balls and 3 Holes) also,

but if you use a bunch of quick clicks while you are right up against the largest ball you can move it up the treadmill to the hole.


This is a great game for a level editor and user-made level archive. The hardest stages for me were the ones with ice, circles, or both.

The physics of it wer very smooth, and I'd give it good marks for varying the physics with the larger balls and the ice.


Good stuff, not too original, but well executed. I really liked how the red balls stayed in the same place when you lost a life, but you had a finite number of lives. If the red balls reset, the question would be "can I finish this level in one try?" and the answer (for some levels) would be no. If the lives were infinite, the question would be "can I finish this level eventually?" and the answer would be yes. The way you did it, I didn't know whether I could succeed, so it made it a good challenge.

So, well done, but when I finally got game over (level 17 or 18... the ice maze), it didn't want to make me jump back in.

lizardling October 2, 2007 10:43 PM

I'm with everyone else who complained about the lack of screen real estate buffering to stop you clicking outside the playing field :( I kept losing valuable seconds because of that.

Also, the Ice Circles stage is fiendishly, insanely difficult, and I pretty much gave up after burning my last five lives on that stage with only one ball in the hole to show for all of that effort. T___T

That said, the physics and graphics are superb and I loved the visual way that the physics were presented. Little ball would of course move quicker than a larger ball, different surfaces, etc.

I can't comment about music since there's no sound on this computer.

This one is one of the best entries to date except for the issues noted above re: difficulty + clicking outside playfield.

paradox28 October 2, 2007 11:32 PM

I echo many of the comments thus far. I love the realistic physics. The sound effects for the red balls is brilliant; the rubber sound effect. The music was good but I agree that perhaps it should last longer before looping. I'm not sure what people are talking about with the balls dropping into the holes, I thought the animation of the balls getting smaller was fine.

I've only tried this game once and was defeated in the ice circles stage (super hard and it, too, dared to bring out the child-like frustration/rage. I imagine if I were using a controller I'd be throwing it across the room in anger). I also don't mind the difficulty in controlling the yellow ball; it provides room for players to become masters at controlling the ball with microbursts/short clicks.

improvement suggestions:
a) add a border or make the game window a whole page to eliminate the annoying action of clicking off the screen.
b) have a practive setting so that you can practice each individual level as its own mini-game. Perhaps leave the last three levels off the practice mode so that it's extra satisfying when a player wins the game.
c) have a high score list (I forgot if has one or not. If it already does have one, then forgive me)

Great game. My favorite so far of the first 3.


Where or how the heck are you people clicking that you're going off the playing field?? Just click next to your pointer ball - the acceleration arrow only goes so far ya know.

Having said that I quit in frustrated rage after getting stuck on some of the ice levels. Adding a LITTLE friction to the ice - or maybe different difficulty level settings - would improve the game greatly in my book.

All in all a fantastic idea though.


The first thing I thought was that the game would be a LOT better if there was just an inch of leeway between the play area and the edge of the window. I constantly clicked on a different window that caused me to throw myself off, which wasn't too bad earlier in the game but bugged me a lot on a couple of the later levels. Other than that, I was pretty pleased. The physics were very well done, it felt clean to play, and the industrial sounds were very complementary to the environment. I don't know if I could play it too long, but I definitely enjoyed it.


Lol... after about 10 minutes I realized that my only comment was going to be:


Great physics... could have used a more interesting skin. What if you were in a spaceship cleaning up perfectly round asteroids by dumping them into a black hole? But I'm not complaining.


A tragic tale:
The little yellow ball was down to its last life in a freezing maze of ice. It navigated carefully, fearful of every spike, getting ever closer to its goal. Just as it was about to reach the red ball at last... the player accidentally clicked outside of the window! And the little ball went careening to its doom, and the player was most distraught.

In other words, I wholeheartedly agree that there ought to be a buffer around the playing area.

This is definitely a very nice game. I enjoyed it quite a bit. Though I didn't finish it. After losing the ice maze level, I really didn't feel like going back through it all again. I don't like redoing everything I've already done. But still. A very fun little game.

Most of the level designs were quite good. However, the ice circles level was incredibly difficult, and not in a good "oo, how can I manage to get past this?" sort of way, but in a "holy crap, this is impossible; I hope that if I click madly for a while maybe it'll solve itself." And it did, after I lost four lives because of the time limit. Finishing something good-difficult should give you a sense of accomplishment; for that level, I just felt relieved it was finally over, and felt like it had been luck rather than skill that finally got me to the end. Anyway, it's still a very nice game overall. Polished and fun. Probably my favorite of the entires so far.


Hey everyone

Thanks for the wonderful feedback. I was aware of the problem with the clicking outside the window but having the game in Jayisgames wrapper meant it wasn't possible to add a border without shrinking the play area, something I didn't want to do.

Regarding the music being monotonous... if it was a full game I'd have put some extra effort in, but for a competition I think it's acceptable.

The difficulty was really hard to gauge, I've played it so much that I can complete it every time, although I agree that ice circles is a challenge :)

I'd love to work on a sequel that has more levels (and more tiles, music etc) but I want to do something else now. I'm going to keep your comments in mind for the future though :)

Thanks again


The physics are good, but man can bouncing off things be an irritating and totally not-fun way to experience a puzzle (like the ice circles, but it was preceded by one without ice that wasn't much more fun). If only there'd been room enough for my ball and the blasted large ones (either by shrinking the balls, the obstacles, or both a smidgen); I'd have had a slightly easier time of it then. As-is I just couldn't see a point to bouncing all around and taking up the entire time limit just to fail again at putting the ball in a reasonably good spot. Damned edges....


Well i must say this is best from all 4 games i seen so far. Grea idea and physics. As a guy who plays with physics programming a lot i msut say that this oe nworks very good. No lags and no cliping which very hard to get combined...
Abyway my score after completing the game is 11662 :)


The physics were good, the balls might have had a little too much elasticity, but overall quite solid. I've gotta say - that was a lot of fun. Only two things detracted from it for me: the same, endless loop of music and the eventual repetitive nature of the game. Overall, very solid.


Definitely the most polished game so far. Seems like a lot of care has been put into making this.

The graphics and sound are great and the gameplay is fun for a good while. The only downside from my point of view is that I didn't find it addictive, so I eventually gave up playing, but that doesn't stop it from being a fun excellently made game.

Good job Ben!


Christine October 3, 2007 9:17 AM


I actually did try your tip beforehand but was still unable to get that darn ball in. Came close a few times though.


Well, while this game hits the physics mark dead on, there was something a bit lacking. I just gave up after 15 levels and didn't want to continue. That says alot since like most gamers I have an over developed sence of competition.

I think it was the shear lack of varation. Hit the ball down the hole, next level. Hit the ball into the spike wall, next level. Repeat. The ice was cool, but really there wasn't enough of a challange/reward to make the game truly griping.


First: Great game!!!!

Second, concerning the problem of clicking outside the gamewindow: I use firefox (that just means that I dont know if this works for the IE as well) and I was able to drag the window to a bigger size by click hold and drag on the right bottom corner of the window. that just ads as much comfortable black space around the playingfield as you need...

it improved the gameplay a lot for me! the rest was just fun until the ice maze...


I'm glad everyone else likes this game, because it has great graphics, great physics, nice sound, nice (well it seems great at first but later gets frustrating) controls, and is amazingly well polished for a two month competition game. A password/save future would be nice.

Unfortunately, I just don't like the basic gameplay. As much as I try to love this game, because it is a nicely implemented game with a lot of effort put in, I don't. I found the gameplay a bit repetitive, a bit frustrating, and a bit boring.

That's why I'm glad others like it, because it is well done. I guess it's just not for me.


Add me to the list who keep clicking outside the window -- I'm glad to know it's not just me.

Great game, but only for a few minutes...


Nice game, except for the sometimes annoying controls. Nothing else to comment on that, really. 3.5/5


I found this game very frustrating! I kept going back just because I was mad at it, and thought I could kick it's butt after a little pep talk. But I kept getting stuck behind the balls. I would end up going haywire, and getting mad again. I will say that I'm not one for this kind of game but I gave it a fair shot. With this kind of game I don't like to be timed. I'd rather be scored. Great game though, It's one of the best efforts so far in the competition.


Being a pool player, I really took to this game. Great work Ben!

My suggestion would be to have either an untimed mode which didn't earn any points but allowed for practice, or being able to return to the level you lost all your lives at. Or, simply being able to select from any level when you start. The circle/ice level killed me!

This is an excellent game, and judging by the large amount of feedback it has received in the short time it has been posted, I think already has a lot of fans.


I think this game: "ROLL", is pretty doggone GOOD! It is not easy, but I think with more time (only spent a few minutes playing, so far) this game will get a lot more challenging. I made it to level 5 (I think) and every level was more difficult than the previous level. Keep up the good work.


Very fun game that I can provide little criticism for. I suppose I'll agree with most folks who complained about the animation when the ball drops down the hole, and the first time I played it, it kind of threw me for a loop a little. I wasn't exactly sure what was happening. But aside from this, great game, I like the speed (many of these ball physics games didn't feel fast enough), good puzzles and aside from the ball dropping down the hole, very polished appearance. Good job.


Can I ask what the issue is with the ball falling down the hole?

I don't understand the problem, it looks good to me :S


i was so frustrated with the three balls one i repeatedly clicked and won lol


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