Solid Balance is a stacking physics game by Solid Games. It’s a physics game that replicates something we all probably did in our childhood: stack boxes. The goal of each level is to stack an ever-increasing number of boxes and other objects without tipping everything over.
The game has two modes. The default mode has no restrictions. You simply place whatever object is next in line. The problem with this is that there is very rarely a compelling reason to do anything except place in the center and symmetrically. Inertia from the object you are currently placing will transfer over, though, so a soft touch is essential.
Far more interesting is the “color rule” option. With this option turned on, another failure state is added. If two objects of the same color touch you will lose. This is much more interesting. You quickly learn to leave pockets in your tower to place unwanted objects and need to think on your feet when you get two large pieces of the same color. The game shows you the next two upcoming pieces to help you plan ahead. You don’t have long, though; there is a time meter that counts down. Whatever piece you’re currently placing will drop when the time meter empties.
Solid Balance uses the TOKAMAK physics engine which has specific optimizations for stacking. Even so, sometimes the behavior of the blocks is a little weird. They tend to skate around a bit before coming to a rest. They come to a rest very quickly, too, which is both good and bad. It provides a stable base, but it’s also hard to see an impending collapse coming. When your tower shifts it tends to destabilize very quickly. It would be nice to have more advance warning in order to have the chance to balance things out.
All told, Solid Balance is a good implementation of a stacking physics game. More variety would certainly be appreciated, but for roughly $10 USD the game delivers adequately at that price point. There is a 1-level demo available to try out the game before committing to a purchase. It’s relaxing fun and certainly much easier to clean up after than stacking real blocks.
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