Games made in the Unity development platform can utilize an interesting physics engine that factors in momentum, collisions, and other forces. Mazen Games’ rolling ball game AtmaSphere lives and dies by its physics, but the execution here leaves something to be desired.
Though it may not be seen in games like these, there is a plot to be found in AtmaSphere. Players take control of the ball Ballard as they set off on a journey to see the love of his life Ballerina at her house. In order to impress her, Ballard must collect five diamonds that dot the landscape on the way to her house. It’s an inoffensive, goofy tale that was certainly not needed, but it does add some humor to the game.
To get to the end of each stage, players must traverse a landscape by rolling their way to the end. Unfortunately, unlike similar rolling-based titles like Super Monkey Ball and Marble Madness, the controls could use some work. This is one title where using a controller actually puts you at a disadvantage – trying to navigate with an analog stick is imprecise due to the way the ball moves. Rather, players will be best suited to use a digital, WASD setup on their keyboards. It’s a little touchy in that regard, but it’s the lesser of two evils.
If anything, the level design in AtmaSphere is questionable. Everything takes place in a medieval forest during a rainstorm at night, which makes things more difficult. Though there is only one path to the end for most of the game, it can be hard to see where you are going. All platforms hang over a bottomless pit, and some aren’t even connected, requiring you to quickly roll between the two. It feels hastily put together, like a proof of concept in Unity rather than a full-fledged game.
The physics engine in the game could also use some work. There are a number of objects and perils along the way, including boxes, spikes, and other rolling balls. However, AtmaSphere’s physics freak out when you bump into anything. There are some light puzzles in the game that require you to push a box or knock a plank out of the way, but these moments feel awkward. It is far too easy to knock your item into the abyss, forcing you to start a stage over from the very beginning.
The 30 levels in the game will take a few hours to beat, but everything looks the same and repetition quickly sets in. Though the game gradually gets more complex, it can feel like a chore at certain points. The lackluster presentation and long load times exacerbate things as well.
AtmaSphere was built around its physics, but unfortunately its physics do not work. What is here feels more like a proof of concept rather than a full-fledged game, making it an easy pass for those looking for the next Marble Madness.