Release Date: February 1990
Developer: Hudson Soft
It’s time the TurboGrafx-16 gets a puzzle game in the form of Timeball. I was unfortunately unable to find a manual for this one, so I hope I had it all figured out! You need to send a ball through a maze of pipes to delete each one from the screen.
You get to look at the lay of the board before you press Button I and get the ball rolling. The first thing you notice on the tiled board is that one is missing. The gimmick is sliding the tiles around to put the pipes in the proper layout for the ball to move through. You can pause time by holding Button I if you are on a square that can’t move.
Pausing to give yourself time to move the cursor around is likely a tactic needed to succeed in later levels. A very important move is sliding a pipe tile while the ball is in it. This is necessary to beat many of the puzzles. On some levels, you can wrap around from one end of the screen to the other. Sometimes this move is available right away, other times you have to clear a certain number of pipes before the option appears.
After winning, you get your score and earn bonuses for making the fewest amount of moves possible. You get as many tries as you want, but you lose your score if you die. I made it to level 15 before I gave up. The internet claims 100 levels, so I can only imagine how crazy they get. And if you want to add to the insanity, you can edit your own challenges in.
Graphics are minimal, but don’t detract from the game.
There are two catchy music tracks to choose from, unless you are a psycho and like silence in your puzzle games.
Outside of any controls I may have missed due to no manual, it seems to control as expected, but doesn’t give you a lot of strategies.
It’s a puzzle game and it’s tough, but when you breakthrough a particularly difficult level, you feel good.
Fun Factor: 2.0
Not totally my cup of puzzle tea, but not boring.
Overall Grade: 2.0
Timeball earns a C. If I had more time, I might stick through a little longer, but it didn’t hold my interest for too long.