King Strike in Review – The war of the billiard balls!

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One my favourite sports is billiards. I love both the American pool (mostly 8-ball) and the more difficult Russian variant, pyramid. I even like watching snooker, though I can’t even begin to understand it. Now what would happen if the red and yellow balls in, say, your average 8-ball game decided to go all out and start a war? Well, now you can find out!

King Strike is quite an unusual game. Though the idea is very simple, I don’t think I’ve seen anything like it on the iDevice yet. The goal of the game is to knock the opponent’s balls off the edges of the screen or down a hole. And in return the same will be done to you. Spice it up with a reasonably good physics model and powerups and you get King Strike!

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Most levels will have you and the your opponent start in mirrored positions. The opponent strikes first, and then it’s showtime. You pick one of your balls, point it in the direction you want using the handy targeting aid, and decide on the power of the shot. Then you go for it. If you happen to knock off two or more enemy balls in one strike, you get a random power-up, which ranges from  score augmenters to enhancers which will change ball physics.

The gameplay is as simple as that. The first one to knock off all of the opponent’s balls wins. But the process itself it damn addictive! The levels usually take 5 to 10 minutes to complete (provided you manage to do it in a couple of tries); and some of the difficult ones can take up to a half hour. And the game features quite a lot of them (30 in single player as I recall). Unusual for these kinds of games, King Strike has a storyline – and an interesting one at that. You see, there is a kidnapping, a prince, a king, and an evil villain called Krakabur.

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The physics model is not bad, but I did find it quite difficult to make consistent side shots since the balls are too small for a sure aim. I would advise the developers to consider adding a zoom feature for those sniper shots. Another missing feature is the ability to adjust the ball’s spin. And while I understand that it would make the gameplay much more complex, I really think I would be worth adding – especially for the max difficulty level. Speaking of which, the game has 3 of them. I saw a significant increase in the AI’s hit ratio as the difficulty increased, but nevertheless the maximum is quite playable.

The graphics don’t offer anything spectacular, but provide a solid experience and excellent performance on my 3G “Jesus” phone. The music and sound effects are on par – there is nothing really more to say about that.

Another plus of King Strike is multiplayer. The downside is – it is hot-phone only, meaning you and someone else will have to take turns on the same phone. While the usefulness of this is limited, it may find a place in those long and boring train or plane trips which are accompanied by a friend.

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I really enjoyed King Strike. It proved to be very addictive and entertaining. This is a nice billiard ball war experience and is a steal for only $0.99. The portrait orientation makes it easy to play it when commuting or even on the go. And the multiplayer is always a plus.  I really hope they will add some advanced targeting tools for those master shots, and new levels would also be a plus.

With this I declare King Strike officially touched.

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App Summary
Title:King StrikeDeveloper:VisualMedia
Reviewed Ver:1.0.0Min OS Req:2.0
Price:$0.99App Size:6.8 MB
  • Addictive gameplay
  • Balanced difficulty
  • Portrait orientation
  • Multiplayer
  • Difficult to make consistent side shots

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