Sinclair User19th November 1987
Published in Sinclair User #71
Madballs are these little tennis ball sized spheres that are incredibly ugly. In Madballs, the game, you are an ambitious Madball who wants to become the top Madball on the planet Orb by becoming leader of the gang of Madballs. You play a splendid little fellow by the name of Dust Head and he must travel about the various areas of Orb recruiting the different members for your gang. To recruit them, you have to gently let them know that you wish them to join. By gently, I mean you have to push them off the walkway you are currently on. Once they have graciously agreed to join, they appear in a little box under the main screen.
On the various levels are different balls. They range from the fast but weak Screamin Meemie to the slow but very strong Freeky Fullback. Some are very easy to recruit, some are damn difficult. But it's not just the Madballs that inhabit the peaceful (Eh?) land of Orb. The nasty officious Bureaucrats also roam the wold, and if you kill one of them, you'll score a lot of points. Once you have collected one or more balls, you can change between them by landing in an open dustbin. Also, as well as the dustbins, there are various other items scattered about. Things like trampolines and catapults increase your bounce, and ramps and pyramids can help or hinder your depending on how you use them, but I'm not going to give that away.
The graphics are very Bounderesque, with a ball getting bigger and smaller to show an overhead view of a ball bouncing. At first the controls are very hard to master, and you find yourself bouncing off the edge of the walkway you are on via all manner of objects. Then you can start really getting into the game, which, though not earth shattering, is not all that bad. Admittedly, a bit more colour could have been used on the mostly monochrome playing area, the gameplay could have been a little easier to get to grips with, but still, it gets involving, and you soon find yourself egging your little on screen counterpart on with cries of "Go on" and "Get 'im". If you like games that need a bit of thought, buy this. If you just want a fast blast, maybe not.
A multi-scrolling Bounder rip off with none of the charm. Though it's still a good game, it could have been better.