Critical Play: Puzzles — Alex Tsai

Name of game, creator, platform, target audience

I played Factory Balls created by Bart Bonte. I played the Factory Balls web app on my MacBook, but it is available to play on, Kartridge, the App Store, and Google Play. Its target audience is players aged 10+ who enjoy bite-sized logic games, as the interface is simple and easy to understand.

Formal elements

The game’s key formal elements are player and objective. The game’s play style is single player vs. game, where one player is tasked with solving puzzles at every level. The game’s objective is for the player to correctly paint a ball with the given pattern of the level.

Types of Fun

The type of fun Factory Balls enables is challenge, as each round of Factory Balls gets progressively more difficult as the patterns become harder to imitate with the given colors and tools.

Moments of success

The moment that I solved the first level was a huge moment of success — I felt like a lightbulb went off above my head, and it was a true ‘aha’ moment that kept me captivated and motivated to complete further levels. As a game designer, it is crucial for the winning moment to feel similarly satisfying.


One thing I would change to make the game better is asking for hints. The game can be quite difficult as the player reaches higher levels. To prevent frustration and to prevent gameplay from taking too long, I would incorporate hints into the game. I would also add a brief instructive onboarding, since there were no instructions on how to play.

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