MazeBall-Soccer made its debut in the Android marketplace today (well, it was today when this was written) and sounded interesting enough to give it a shot. The author describes it as being a cross between soccer (the sport) and those old, wooden labyrinth maze puzzles. After playing it the soccer part of the description is a bit of a stretch as this is clearly far more like the labyrinth maze game.
First, however, I should express that I did have some issues with crashes and screen updates going awry. In one case I had to run Advanced Task Killer to clear everything out of memory and then the game worked fine again. I sense the error handling for failed memory allocation and such may not be there and that will cause frustrations. Hopefully some of these issues will be addressed in an update once the bug reports start rolling in.
As for the game itself, it consists of 50 puzzles (not that I've played them all) where you have to guide a ball into a soccer goal at the other end of the field. The field itself contains lots of obstacles including things like pits and lego blocks. To move the ball you tilt your Android device and utilize its accelerometer. The first level consists of an open field and serves as a solid confidence builder. Once you get the right angle going with your device the ball quickly rolls on down the field into the goal and you'll be thinking that the game is stupid as the confidence builder is just that ridiculously easy. It took until about level 5 before the game started presenting any level of challenge for me and started to require thought.
The other half of the soccer portion of the game is that there are two timer bars at the top of the screen. If you don't score before the first one runs out then your imaginary opponent scores on you... and you have to outscore them to beat the level. The second bar is overall match time. Being hypercompetitive I like the idea of a score, but in this case playing against both a timer and whatever difficulty the maze poses seemed redundant. In fact, I'd probably axe the association with soccer entirely as I just don't see that it adds anything.
MazeBall-Soccer has the potential to drive you batty and sometimes requires thinking outside of the box. On one level I kept falling in the holes until I finally realized that I wasn't supposed to go that way, or at least I seemed to be doing the level the hard way. And feeling a sense of accomplishment like that is what a good gaming experience is all about. If you like labyrinth style games then you'll probably like this one, but I question with the free 10 level version of Labyrinth Lite available how many will be die hard enough to want this as well at a cost of roughly $2 (especially given the lack of polish with the occasional crashes I experienced). And, as seems fitting with so many Android games, there is no demo and there is no mention of this game on the developer's website... the latter being the more perplexing. So, in summary, if 50 more levels of labyrinth would entertain you then here's your match, otherwise Labyrinth Lite should have you covered as a neat tech demo. Oh, and just when is that full version of Labyrinth with a thousand levels going to become available?