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Official Review Bang-On Balls: Chronicles Review

Quip and scoff at the name all you want, this game has got balls of steel.
 
 

General Information

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These days it takes a lot for a game to hook me for more than a couple of sessions and a few hours here and there. Bang-On Balls appears, sounds and feels incredibly simple, but whatever you do, don't underestimate this sleeper hit!

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Exploration, Adventure, Secrets and More


Bang-On Balls is a game focused on fun and exploration. From the outset, you're immersed in incredibly detailed worlds, astounding graphics and awesome puzzle action that engages and draws you in deeper.

The game is set within the grounds of a film studio, with variously themed sound stages for you to discover including Pirate, Viking, Godzilla, and Space Race themes. Each level is entirely destructible and contains numerous tasks to complete, bosses to fight, items to collect, and mysteries to solve.

Each level has you exploring a locale that is jam-packed with scenery, NPCs, and collectibles. Every surface can be interacted with whether you're smashing through castle walls, scaling skyscrapers, or laying siege to fleets of ships on the high seas, this game has it all. Even when the screen is teaming with effects and particles, everything runs incredibly smoothly on PS5.

Throughout each land, you will encounter various side quests, timed events, and secret switches that you will have to navigate to locate the missing pieces of whatever you are currently collecting. There is so much to collect, so many enemy types and so many mini-boss and mega-boss battles that you will be engrossed in this game for a long time.

I managed to complete it in around 20 hours at a casual pace, trying to unlock and buy everything I could see, but I'm sure if you did the bare minimum you could probably finish this game in under 12. When I began playing I noticed a lot of the out-of-reach items and paths. Being an inquisitive player I automatically sought to grab them as early on as possible, though as you progress through the main campaign you will unlock a heck of a lot more in the main square that allows you to obtain those things with ease.

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Unassuming, Layered like an Onion, Exquisitely Crafted


When I started playing the game I noticed just how easy it was to control, with R2 handling the action for the most part. R2 is your attack button, you point in a direction with the analogue stick and dash and smash your way through enemies, objects, walls and time zones throughout each level.

Controlling the game is also as intuitive as you could want, and you can feel the inspiration from other popular action-platformer games coming through every aspect of this title. You and jump or double jump with Cross, ground pound with Circle and interact with Triangle.

Don't have a friend playing with you? It's no problem. You can link up with people on servers to play around and complete tasks or if you prefer not to, you can use a gashapon machine to buy a friend to stand on switches with you or help you through a tough situation.

Linking up with others is as simple as locating a red internet cable, found throughout the game, and selecting to allow others to join you or join with others. you could also press start on a second controller and the game screen tears in half ready for couch-coop split screen, which is a fantastic feature to see in 2024.

It's amusing clowning around with others, but I found that I progressed with far more satisfaction, by adventuring alone.

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Entertaining, But One Gripe


Through my time playing I hammered it. So much so that I felt endorphin after endorphin rush, figuring out intricate puzzles, exploring the upper and outer limits of each level and striving to destroy and collect everything as succinctly as possible.

Opening the arcade area yields 3-4 mini-games such as Street Fighter-inspired card destroying, Rocket League-Esq Soccer, and Tetris-inspired hole-in-floor-avoidance. Each one is a fully-fledged game in its own right, with levels and scoreboards to best.

I had a blast with the arcade, which offered some light relief from the platforming collect-a-thon!

The one constant that I noted was just how few trophies I popped along the way, which genuinely intrigued me into looking deeper into them. It turns out that of the 27 trophies available, 26 of them are fart gags!

In my opinion, this is the only area that falls short in this game, it's my one gripe. Usually, I love trying to figure out when a trophy will be awarded based on my actions and the level of skill I did it with, but I rarely held the whistle button down to produce a fart, so I only unlocked one trophy in my playthrough doing an initial fart once I was instructed that I could toot at will.

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The Future is Shaped Like Balls


Bang-On Balls Chronicles features four four-player online coop, two-player offline split screen, and free DLC going forward. The first DLC incoming is Wild West-themed and I am 100% anticipating delving straight back into it the second it drops.

This game ticks every box and nails it sets out to do, and as a result, it's been the most fun I have had with a game in quite a while. Best of all, this game will set you back just £19.99 and is, in my humble opinion, worth far more than the sum of its parts.

If there was one game I could recommend to anyone of any ability and any skill level, this would be the one. It evokes memories of Mario games, Sonic titles and even Ratchet and Clank adventures, all of which culminate in something truly terrific to play through.

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