Physics Games and Physics-Based Game Downloads

Excellent Marble Madness-Inspired Physics Game

Saturday, January 27th, 2007 by Matthew in Physics Games
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (Rate this game! 147 votes, average: 3.69 out of 5)

Hamsterball is a well-produced rolling marble game by Raptisoft. I haven’t seen much of John Raptis on the net lately, but last I heard he was working on a Hamsterball 2 (I imagine he has all the time in the world thanks to the earnings from the amazing Chuzzle). At its core Hamsterball is a reproduced version of Marble Madness, but it’s also one of my favorite remakes.

Solid Level Design

Hamsterball does a great job with level design. Many of the early levels are fairly static, but the later levels provide a lot of creative challenges (the Odd Race level with variable gravity directions will truly bend your mind). There doesn’t seem to be a general-purpose physics engine behind the scenes, unfortunately, as the number of other dynamic physics objects is very limited. The actual feel of your ball is pretty sharp overall, though.

Hamsterball has a very specific focus on racing; the game is all about how quickly you can get to the goal. It impedes this goal by requiring very controlled movement, which cuts both ways. On one hand, the high difficulty of the game magnifies your sense of accomplishment when you do manage a really good run through a level. On the other hand, the game can be something of a frustration generator at times. It’s particularly difficult to move uphill with the mouse. After failing miserably at some of the uphill sections I actually started playing with both the keyboard and mouse at the same time. This really improved my play experience by allowing sharper speed changes.

Not Very Open-Ended

One aspect of the game’s design that bugs me is the lack of open-endedness. Hamsterball is very faithful to Marble Madness in this regard. Compared to other rolling games with a focus on accurate player movement, like Super Monkey Ball, you can only fall a short distance and survive. This cuts down on the possibility for drastic shortcuts. Any shortcuts in the level must essentially be placed there by the designer (for an example of some truly insane player-discovered shortcuts check out this video of a flawless run through the original Super Monkey Ball).

It’s obviously just a matter of taste, but I prefer the softer, more puzzle-oriented gameplay of titles like Switchball. There isn’t a lot of room for failure in the gameplay of Hamsterball, and I no longer have the tenacious game-playing focus of my youth.

Hamsterball Screenshot Screenshot of Physics Games
(Hamsterball Game Screenshots)

Solid Production

Hamsterball packs a lot of production punch. The art is somewhat minimal, but very consistently themed. The game has a very demoscene-like quality to it, which is due in large part to the excellent soundtrack by Skaven (of Future Crew). The Time Trial mode has a limited ghost feature, which is great if you’re anal enough to whittle your times down below the developers’. There are even some party games in the latest version. All in all, Hamsterball is a great value and a lot of fun to play.

Download Hamsterball Game (6.8 MB)

The full version of Hamsterball is available for $9.95 from the Raptisoft webpage.

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16 Responses to 'Excellent Marble Madness-Inspired Physics Game'

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  1. Purple said,

    on January 27th, 2007 at 7:40 pm

    Movement is much more fluid when using the (sorry don’t know the correct name) little red nub on some laptop keyboards. You have the continuous motion of the keyboard, but the range of motion the mouse has.

  2. Masu said,

    on January 28th, 2007 at 1:56 am

    looks cool

  3. Aqua General said,

    on January 28th, 2007 at 3:23 am

    About a year ago I played this game on Another very well made marble sim.

  4. Aqua General said,

    on January 28th, 2007 at 3:24 am

    Forgot to mention that I love the amount of reviews you are making.

  5. Beakless said,

    on January 28th, 2007 at 4:24 am

    This is a fun game, i played it a few months ago with a couple of mates, we had a blast on multiplayer.

    It’s just not quite worth $10.00 , $5.00 maybe, but not $10.00.

  6. fluffy bunny said,

    on January 28th, 2007 at 2:33 pm

    Agreed, Hamsterball is a great little game. Well worth the money.

  7. Dennis said,

    on January 28th, 2007 at 3:16 pm

    Hey! This game is cool! But another good Physics-Game that is paid… ALL the good games(Or most of them) are paid… I really wanted to play the full version of this game….



    *Go to Google*

  8. Beakless said,

    on January 29th, 2007 at 4:11 am

    Lol, any luck, Dennis?

  9. Kurrus said,

    on January 29th, 2007 at 10:50 am

    Meh, I don’t like it THAT much…
    It’s a bit repetitive, frustating, and the controls are unpolished.

  10. Raziel said,

    on January 30th, 2007 at 2:16 am

    Heh, I played this some time ago. Some levels are kinda annoying, and I can never find the secret to unlock a new arena -.-. Anyway, if you know where to look, it’s easy to save those 10$ ^_^ (I’m Romanian, I know these stuff roflmao)

  11. Beakless said,

    on January 30th, 2007 at 5:52 am

    I still think that softbody physics are the way forward…

    I found a very broken and difficult game in it’s very early stages of development. it’s called Rigs Of Rods, or something like that, and it is basically an off-road diving simulator using cutting edge softbaob physics.

    however I DO NOT recommend downloading it becase it is extremely difficult to control and it is a very broken and buggy game.

    P.S. I rediscovered the full version of armadillo run and we have fallen in love (ahhh). . . .

  12. Ye said,

    on January 30th, 2007 at 6:13 am

    Yea i’ve tried that too Beakless… I’ts weird when you crash like against a wall, the car starts to “wobble” or smthing :D But hey, hamsterball’s cool, although im not paying for full version… And don’t understand that i had illegally dloaded it, cause that’s not true :D

  13. Smada said,

    on January 30th, 2007 at 9:25 am

    About Rigs Of Rods:
    I tried it some time ago and had the same impression.
    I prefer 1nsane, an old (from around 2000) game by codemasters, very nice physics which can now be downloaded for free…
    There’s an official patch that removes the activation key, just google for insane patch 2, and have fun…

  14. Diaperzoo said,

    on January 30th, 2007 at 10:18 am

    Rigs of Rods is very cool. You just need a good computer to run it smoothly. It’s tons of fun too. Honestly.

  15. Batesman said,

    on January 31st, 2007 at 3:22 pm

    yeah. . .its very fun to use the big crane, lift a car reeeeaaaaally high and then unlock the hook. the car is undriveable most of the time if you do this lol

  16. Ye said,

    on February 3rd, 2007 at 5:28 am

    1nsane’s one of the coolest driving-games i’ve played (after Flatout 1… 1, not 2, flatout 2 suxx)…. I really hope there will be In2ane, or 1nsane 2 or smthing.

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