The dictionary tells me that Ballistics is ‘the science of a projectile in flight.’ Our projectile in this instance is a troublesome football clanging through the Quantumboi 3000, a machine that can look into all the parallel universes, past and present. It is up to us to help Professor Goodboi safely guide the ball, to the exit, through 6 worlds without causing too much damage.
If it wasn’t clear… I absolutely love this storyline! It’s silly and over the top and I am here for it. Professor Goodboi’s Ballistics is 42 levels of physics puzzles, beautiful backgrounds, hidden cats and some cool twists on known physics games.
Each world in the game comes with its own challenges and tricks. World One uses shapes and good old gravity to get the ball to the exit. Two challenges us to use our hand-eye coordination to build paths from frozen paint. Three is all about timing as you set up clockwork elements to help create a path. 4, 5 and 6 have you playing with lasers, flipping gravity, and then portals and aliens respectively.
The goal is simple, guide the ball to the end zone. You just have to figure out and setup the best path. If you got everything set up just right, that pesky ball will fly true.
Nailing The End Line
It is safe to say that this game nails the most important element of a game. It is unreservedly fun. Professor Goodboi’s Ballistics is a pretty great physics puzzler that has just the right amount of challenge without being overtly difficult.
While some puzzles were easy, I did have to take my time and think through others. I had to consider how to use speed, shapes, gravity, and time to my benefit. Often, it all came down to minor adjustments. This is where the designer really succeeded in finding that balance between simplicity and difficulty.
I was never stuck for long enough to get frustrated, just long enough to feel challenged while still having a hoot. Professor Goodboi and its creator reward patience and experimentation. It was easily the best 3 hours I have spent in a game, trying and testing different solutions to a puzzle. None of it is groundbreaking, but the levels have some really fun takes on established physics puzzles.
For instance, the clockwork world is all about finding and setting the clockwork up so that when you hit play, it all moves and lines up perfectly with the ball. Every level creates that magic loop of anticipation and tenseness, followed by the sweet dopamine hit of absolute satisfaction when it all lines up perfectly.
While you figure out where to place things or how to line stuff up, it definitely helps that this is a ridiculously cute game. The game is a fun mix of dorky and adorable elements, and an incredibly detailed background. The moving elements, including Professor Goodboi, are all cartoony. Each background in the game is in a different style, filled with little details and animations that make them come alive. At first, it seems inconsistent but after a certain point, it works to create a pretty unique personality.
The game’s personality is further hyped up with a lot of tiny details that almost make you forget that you are playing a really strong puzzle game. For starters, this game doesn’t take itself seriously. The Quantumboi starts by singing the song of its people, the modem connection noises. At a certain point, you are trying to ignore a sharp-shooting cowboy of a robot bartender who is very confused when it loses its hat to your gravity manipulations.
And let’s not forget the best part of this. The reason I will be replaying all the levels is because I realized it was an achievement and not just an easter egg. There are hidden cats!
Are There Any Hurdles?
For a game made by a single person, there was almost nothing to fault in this tiny little treasure. But to nitpick, there are 3 little issues I had with Professor Goodboi’s Ballistics.
The first one takes place in World 2 where we have to use spray paint. The mechanic itself worked beautifully and the problem here was more in the inputs you had to use to trigger the paint. Press and hold the left mouse to grab and move the can, and then press and hold the right mouse button to spray, while dragging the mouse around to draw the shape you want.
It is a lot of hand-eye coordination where any slip-up requires you to reset all the paint, especially since you have a limited amount of paint in the can. As a result, it’s a mechanic that is hard to use efficiently even though it allowed for some interesting puzzle design.
The next problem is something that happened very rarely. It was the most noticeable in World Six. In this rare circumstance, the physics playback did not happen consistently. When I hit play after setting up the board, once in a blue moon, the purely physics-based elements did not react in the exact way they should. Some elements might fall or move slightly differently.
This playback loop is the player’s feedback, and we use it to make adjustments. So, when things moved unexpectedly, I would overcompensate to fix things if I didn’t immediately notice it looked wrong. The majority of the time, however, the game was great at perfectly repeating the playback, making it easy to experiment and adjust. It happens the most in 6 because you actually switch gravity around in all of those levels.
Lastly, I really wish that some levels had been a little harder. Even though I feel like the game found a great balance, I probably would have enjoyed it if some levels were more challenging. That being said, I definitely wouldn’t say no to more levels either. So maybe this isn’t a bad thing.
Do Any Of The Cons Matter?
The short answer… no. This game is worth supporting and you should add it to your library if you like physics puzzlers.
Beyond that, here is a bigger reason why you should support this game. Professor Goodboi is a great example of the passion within game development. This game has been designed and made by one person. Supporting it will not just nurture talent in the industry; it will support all the single and small teams of developers who are out there making some incredible games. They are the ones creating some of the most innovative concepts since they aren’t held back by corporate concerns.
It helps that Professor Goodboi’s Ballistics is a genuinely good game. Fun… simple… and worth it.
|Cool twists on physics puzzlers
|World Two has a paint mechanic that is tricky to use
|Easy to learn and rewards patience and experimentation
|Sometimes the physics playback isn’t consistent, resulting in overcompensation of strategies.
|Not difficult but challenging enough for most gamers
|Cute and well-executed art style
|Has a lot of details that provide personality and provide little surprises. Hidden Cats will always have my vote.
GamesHorizon recieved a review copy for Steam.