Critical Play: Puzzles

For this critical play, I played “Factory Balls”, by developer Bart Bonte, on the web (although it is also available on Steam and mobile devices). I believe the target audience for the game is people who enjoy solving simple puzzles (ages 12+). The game itself and its mechanics are very simple. You match different colors and elements to create a pattern on a ball. As the game progresses the levels get harder and harder.


This game is very simple and involves just a player and the game (computer), which makes it a single-player game. However here the player is not playing against the game, but rather with it, I would say. 

Type of fun

This game is mostly “Challenge” as the main idea is that players must solve these puzzles to get to higher levels. However, I thought there was also some element of “submission” as I could see myself spending hours playing it without knowing time was passing.

Success, fails, and improvements:

I thought overall this was a very clever and fun game to play. In terms of mechanics, it is straightforward but it lends itself to the type of fun. Having puzzles that are in some way related and get harder as the levels progressed felt very entertaining and I could see my skills improving. A big success was towards round 3, where I started better understanding how the elements worked, and what types of movements I had to do to form certain patterns. Although the levels didn’t build on each other, I did learn skills that helped me in later rounds. The biggest fail I would say is that the levels got extremely hard at one point and I was stuck for quite some time. Although I do think this is partly part of the “fun” involved in the game, an improvement might be to have a “hint” section that helps players who are very stuck. When I was stuck on a level for 10 minutes I quit because I felt like I wasn’t going anywhere. Having a small hint might’ve helped me stay engaged.

Level I got stuck on 🙁

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