Kumoon: Ballistic Physics Puzzle is set to release on Nov. 10th via Steam.
It was developed by Lucky You Studios and runs on the ShiVa3D game engine.
You can visit their official website here.
So.. what is Kumoon : Ballistic Physics Puzzle?
Kumoon: Ballistic Physics Puzzle (or for this article I will abbreviate to BPP because it is quite the mouthful) is a quirky, unique puzzle game that is centered around physics, and more importantly, trajectory.In BPP you take control of a small robot, who sort of resembles R2D2 or WALL-E's love interest EVE, and scoot your way through a training/simulator style world similar to that of Portal filled with cubes and other geometric shapes. In each of these levels, or rooms, your challenged by the same objective, with different variations. Your objective is to use your robot abilities to propel small, spherical objects away from you and towards cubes in order to knock them around/down. You have to knock around every cube in the room to proceed. This may sound easy; the twist is, along with hitting every cube, you must also reach a score goal at the end of each level. Each cube hit counts as one point. If you can manage to hit one of the geometric shapes around the room and THEN hit a cube, all in the same one shot, then you've earned yourself two points. The levels are set up in a way that allows for many shapes to be hit before your sphere touches a cube and the points begin to rack up. The idea is to hit as many shapes as you can before hitting a cube and scoring the highest amount of points possible for each ball fired. There are three level categories grouped by difficulty: easy, medium, and hard. There are about fifteen levels in each grouping and overall it's quite a short game.
Aesthetically pleasing, the game is beautiful.
Variation in levels regarding scale and object placement.
Level difficulty progressed appropriately.
Enjoyable & fitting soundtrack.
Virtual Reality support!
I found it very easy when writing down my list of pros and cons to point out what I like about the game. In the very first few minutes of launching the game the first thing I realized is how aesthetically pleasing the menu screens look. They feel futuristic and definitely match the theme of the game. The menus and interfaces aren't blocky or boring, and that's saying something for the UI in place before the game even begins! After passing the menus and entering the actual game-world, I wasn't disappointed. The game is beautiful. Even though you're surrounded by simple shapes and packed into enclosed spaces, the 3D world you're placed in is stunningly artistic. There's something about the cleanliness and symmetry of this game that really appealed to my inner OCD. It's simple, yet elegant. Another thing about the rooms you're placed in that I enjoyed was the random size scaling that happens. One level you play in might be as big as a regular-sized living room, and the next room the size of an entire apartment-complex. I like the variability and it kept me on my toes. Aside from the aesthetics of the levels, the difficulty progression within the levels was also pleasant. The beginning levels were easy, the medium levels began easy and got a little more difficult, and the hard levels were just the right amount of difficulty that didn't incite any keyboard-tossing or screen-punching on my part. The soundtrack in the game was very fitting and played it's role of being background noise and didn't try to steal your attention away from the actual game. The controls in the game were very smooth and I didn't have any trouble with them; there were a few controls that I simply didn't use but someone else may have found use for them. There's an option to pick between first and third person camera angles, which is a nice option to have, but I almost always preferred first person over third. There was also an option to set your movement speed to "half-speed", which simulated walking instead of running, but, again, I never used this and found full-speed to be easier to control anyways. Additionally, there is some neat variation in regards to the shapes that you have at your disposal. Regular shapes, such as flat surfaced triangles or rectangular prisms, grant +1 point to your score, while other shapes, such as rounded spheres, grant +2 to your score. I'm grateful for this variation and appreciate the opportunity to try harder for more points. Lastly, let's not forget the VR support! That's right, this game is fully VR supportive and, in fact, that was this companies motive from the beginning. I'm not sure how many people have Virtual Reality hardware at their disposal, but that's besides the point. I played this game without VR and enjoyed it, I can only imagine how much fun it would be with VR.
A little too easy. (Raise the score goal?)
Overall, there weren't that many cons I could find for this game, however, I do have a couple important things to point out. The levels in the game were quick. They were too easy. Although having a puzzle game that's infuriating is never a good choice when appealing to the masses, a little more difficulty can be utilized. It's okay, Lucky You Studio, we can handle it. A little more difficulty (I'm not completely sure how to implement it) could go a long way in terms of replay-ability and immersiveness. In relation to the difficulty, I found an issue regarding the score goal required to win the level. I think it's too low. I realized that, for the most part, if I managed to sort out a single shot with multiple shape-hits, then I vastly succeeded the score required and didn't have to manage or calculate my other shots at all. I know that this is a small-scale puzzle game that's only meant to entertain for a day or two and challenge the brain a bit, but it becomes repetitive quickly. About halfway through the game I realized I've been doing basically the same thing the whole time. Which I get; that's the game. But if I'm fully critiquing this game for all of its flaws, that would be one of them. Add a little more to it. Employ a few more interactions that the player can have with the world in order to keep the entertainment value steady throughout the game. Just a thought. Lastly, and most definitely not least, I stumbled across an exploit that, arguably, ruined the game for me. Your possible points add up with each shape that you hit and will reset upon firing another ball. This is a great mechanism for ensuring the points are added to the correct shot that's fired EXCEPT when the spheres roll around the floor and can be manipulated by your character. I found that if I fired a shot and purposefully hit as many shapes as I possibly could, disregarding if I actually hit the cube or not, I could then run my character into a sphere at the right angle, hit a cube, and falsely score many, many undeserved points. Fortunately, this exploit doesn't always work, as some cubes are out of reach and cannot be targeted by this method. This could all be solved if the developers removed the ability to interact with spheres on the ground and enabled a no collide system between them and your robot. But the severity must be seen because: if you can cheat, why try?
Here are a few side notes I wrote down for this game. I couldn't necessarily place them in either the pros or cons columns, so I'll let you be the judge of where they belong. To begin with, there aren't any real, clear instructions on how to play the game. I sort of had to figure it out by myself. Some people may enjoy this, others may want a little push in the right direction. Something weird I found about the game is concerning a window that appears on every levels and tells you information such as how many cubes to hit, how many points you need, etc. On this window is shows you your current FPS..? This is nice to know, don't get me wrong, but wouldn't it be more relevant to show the player a timer regarding how long he's been in the level or something else? The game also requires a small amount of platforming in order to get into view of the cubes and shapes you need to hit. To aid your robot in his platforming endeavors, he has the ability to slowly glide downwards with his little metallic arms. It's kinda cute.
In conclusion, Kumoon: Ballistic Physics Puzzle was an extremely enjoyable game. It has a lot to offer and can make you forget about your real-life issues and immerse you in its universe momentarily. This is all that we, as gamers, want anyways. This game challenges you to think about trajectory and calculate your shorts accordingly. It's fun, but it has its issues that need to be sorted out as soon as possible. I'm not sure that I would shell out $19.99 for it, but I think $14.99 is more fair for the content you're receiving.
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