Steam is often one of the best outlets to find new indie games, and will soon be home to Teotl Studios' The Ball. A team from Sweden that consists of only three full-time developers and several part-time artists and programmers, Teotl Studios created a full adventure puzzle game based on a mod for Unreal Tournament 3. The mod was introduced as a contender in the Make Something Unreal contest, and won numerous awards.
As an archeologist exploring a dormant volcano in Mexico, players fall into a cavern and must wait for their team to provide rescue support. With curiosity taking over, the archeologist decides to explore deeper into the environment. From here players begin to find a hidden city of Aztec ruins. A strange and ancient weapon is found, followed by a mysterious ball that reacts to its power.
The Ball can best be compared to the likes of Portal, but its gameplay is unique. The controls are just like Portal, in that there is one tool that is used to do everything in the game. The ancient weapon is used to attract, push away, or attach rope to the ball. Charging the weapon allows players to push the ball great lengths. More than half the game consists of completing puzzles that require players to maneuver the ball in innovative ways, ultimately allowing them to move to the next area.
The Ball can be utilized as a step ladder, a shield from enemies, and energy source for an ancient chariot, and several other options. Not only are there puzzles, but in some areas it is necessary to avoid hordes of mummies, bugs and large bosses like an undead gorilla. As you can see in the video below, "9 Ways to Kill a Mummy," there are many ways to utilize the ball.
There are two game modes, which unfortunately don't include multiplayer. The Adventure Mode will supposedly take between six and eight hours to complete, while countless hours can be spent replaying the game's Survival Mode. In Survival, players must kill enough enemies to fill nine containers. The longer a player manages to survive, the more obstacles are put in place to make the game more difficult.
According to Teotl's release, the ball's movement is strongly based on physics. Where there are slopes or streams, the ball will behave appropriately. The Unreal Engine appears to be utilized in impressive ways, and the graphics for the game look vibrant and smooth.
Though the game's use of the Unreal engine prevents it from coming to the Mac, Teotl Studios would eventually like to release Xbox 360 and PS3 versions of the game.
What do you think about The Ball? Do you feel there is still room for single-player only PC games?
The Ball is currently available for pre-order on Steam, and will be unlocked on October 26, 2010 for PC. It will cost $19.99.