I spent hours a day playing Globolus when I first discovered it. This was years ago, and a few friends and I got into it together. We would play dozens of matches every night. As our skills progressed, the complexity of our strategies would increase in an attempt to one-up each other. I remember the experience fondly. But then the game went to a premium business model, we grew tired of the few game modes available at the time, and soon we forgot all about Globoulos. Someone from the GlobZ team reminded me about the game recently, though, so I decided to check in on it. It turns out that there’s a ton of new stuff, but the classic—enjoyable, addicting—Globulos experience still remains.
The controls in Globulos are a great example of the right kind of simplicity. The game is turn-based; during each turn both players set trajectories for their pieces. After the planning time, the round plays out simultaneously using a simple physics model. Globs bounce off each other and the environment as you would expect them to. In some modes, the goal is to push a puck into your opponent’s goal. In others, it’s to push their king—who can’t move under his own power—off the board. There are zanier modes, too, like darts, tic-tac-toe, or croquet.
Bluffs and Double-Bluffs
The brilliance of the gameplay comes from predicting your opponent’s moves. Most players start out with Globulos by making obvious, predictable moves. They’ll go right for the ball in a soccer game, or directly at the king in the sumo mode. Of course, predictable moves can be exploited. If you know where a piece will move you can intercept it to push it off the edge, or dodge it so it goes off the edge by itself. Naturally, the next step in the evolution of playing Globulos is the bluff. You might pass on a really obvious move in the hopes that your opponent will be expecting it. You’ll then design your play to exploit their response to the move you won’t be making. And, finally, the double-bluff: You expect your opponent is predicting you will bluff, so you do the obvious move anyway and hope they’re expecting you not to. Whew!
As you can see, things can get complicated. A typical situation usually results in trying to design a play that responds to multiple scenarios. You’ll want to cover the possibility of a bluff and a double-bluff all in the same setup. This is obviously very hard to do. The chain reaction of multiple globs colliding all in the same area can have very chaotic results.
Play With Friends!
The real fun of Globulos, for me, can only be had by playing the same people multiple times. When you keep playing the same person, you start to learn their style of play (and they start to learn yours). The interplay between trying to adapt to them, while they’re simultaneously trying to adapt to you, is what makes Globulos interesting. It’s like playing rock-paper-scissors. If you play stone five times in a row, obviously you won’t be playing it a sixth time. Or will you? That kind of gamble is thrilling, but it’s really only fun if you’re playing with people you know. I highly encourage everyone to set up Globulos games with friends. I played quite a bit with people in the same room when I first got into it, which was especially enjoying.
Free Version Available
Globulos is still using a split free/premium business model. You can play for free as a guest, with the following limitations: your session will end after 15 minutes, and you can only start games of certain type (which change regularly). The subscription has multiple price points which range for $2 for 7 days to $27 for 12 months of access.
Play Globulos Online (Flash required)
Personally, I would love to see more features available free of charge. I think they could still see revenue by limiting premium features to meta-game features like tournaments, special icons and names, and so on, without limiting too much of the gameplay experience. The game is old enough that perhaps they could go back to a completely free model, too, which would certainly see a surge of users. Still, you can play Globulos for free with the current system. Why aren’t you playing now?