The original Fastball was okay, but it didn’t really strike me as anything special. You can read my review here: . The funny thing about Fastball 2 is that the game doesn’t seem any much different than the first one game play wise, yet it feels like a whole different experience. There are a couple of new mechanics in the game, but I attribute this mostly to an overhaul in graphics and sound. While one tries not to be shallow about such things, it’s amazing the difference something as basic as aesthetics can make. Whatever the case, I am much more in tune with this game then the first one.
The premise behind the game is really simple – you need to make sure the ball gets to the end of the level without hitting any obstacles or falling through any holes. The ball is constantly rolling, and the only control you have is to make it jump by tapping the screen. As you might expect, then, the key to doing well in the game is timing. Of course I have no sense of timing, which makes this type of game particularly difficult for me, but with great challenge comes great reward, right? Something else you have to be conscious of is that in some places even though it might seem like you need to jump, you might just want to fall. The levels are short, so experimentation isn’t the end of the world. Just don’t play like me and do the same thing 100 times just because you’re sure one time it’s going to work.
Along the way there are stars to collect in order to earn extra points. You might miss one or two every now and again, but if you seem to be missing the majority of them then you’re probably doing something wrong, because the stars are laid out in such a way that they are reachable just by following the natural course of the level. I think there are one or two occasions where the level splits and you can only follow one path, but that is a rarity. There are a couple of things that will help you when you come across them. Certain signs can speed you up, slow you down, or cause you to reverse direction. There are also certain tiles that cause you to jump higher than normal. While you may have the urge to jump over these things at times when you see them, they are almost always there for a good reason, so try to use them when possible.
The visuals are quite a step up from the first game. Right off the bat you’ll note that there are actually two different themes you can play with: cartoon and futuristic. Personally I like cartoon a little better, but they’re both pretty nice. The objects you jump over look to be the same for both, but platform tiles, signs and backdrops change when you pick a different theme. Yes, this iteration of Fastball has backdrops! The one on the cartoon theme even changes between day and night. Cool! Sound effects are there, which is better than nothing, though I do like the noise the ball makes when it speeds up. The music is really cool, and there are actually three tunes – one for the menu, and one for each theme. Like with the visuals I prefer the cartoon music, which for some reason makes me feel like I should be at a café somewhere in Paris.
This is still probably one of the more basic “rolling ball” games that’s actually fun, but I can’t deny that I get hooked on it. Whenever I start a level I almost can’t put the game down until I get the level finished. You will probably have to make several attempts at many of the levels, but like I said they’re short, so it shouldn’t be too much of an issue. Hopefully decent sales will encourage the developer to add a couple more themes, but the game is pretty solid as it stands right now. If you’re looking for a nice, simple variant of games like Bounce On or Funkyball Worlds, this would be a great title to pick up.