Steamballs in Review – Matching-3 steampunk style…

The whole match-3 genre is definitely one of the more casual ones, designed for quick pick up and play. This in mind it’s not a big shock that there are quite a bunch of these games on the App Store, enough to make sorting out the good from the bad a pain for the casual customer. TouchMyApps is proud to be your first line of defense in such trying circumstances and today we’re going to review Steamballs,  a match-3 puzzler from Digital Worlds, developers of the card-based strategy game Strongholds.

Steamballs is a classic match-3 puzzler in steampunk style. As with most games in the genre, there isn’t any story to speak of – instead you’re thrown straight in the middle of  the “action”. The tutorial takes about half-a-dozen screens and does an excellent job of introducing the game basics.

There is no actual goal in Steamballs apart from getting as high a score as you can. To do this you have the standard match-3 mechanic – you have to horizontally line up 3 or more balls of the same colour. Thankfully there is much more to this than that. The balls themselves drop from the top part of the screen. You control where the ball drops and it is replaced by a new one from the column above. You can see the next two balls of each column, allowing you to try and plan ahead.

Near the bottom of the playing field, thats where things get even more interesting. There are 4 scales that tip depending on the overall weight of the balls on the sides of each column, causing them to rise or sink. The balls themselves have different weights according to the numbers written on them. So if you pile up 5 balls of the same colour on top of each other, they collapse into a single one with their weights combined. As you probably have already guessed the score you get is directly related to the weight of the balls. Lastly, there are various special balls that can help you clear up some poorly positioned balls or modify their behaviour.

On the graphics and interface side the game leaves the feeling of being an extremely polished product, with all graphics done in perfect steampunk style. The game is one of the few made for vertical orientation with the interface optimized for one-finger control (horizontal swipes to move, and downwards to drop). This combined with a non-time-constrained gameplay makes it a perfect title for on-the-move gaming.

Steamballs is the essence of match-3, polished to the extent of becoming an art with deep and varied gameplay. While the basic mechanics makes for an easy-to-pick-up gaming experience, the added features really make it a “hard-to-master” puzzler. In the end Steamballs is the perfect choice for any fan of the match-3 genre or even a gamer in search of a casual title to entertain themselves on the go.

With this I declare Steamballs officially touched!

App Summary
Title: Steamballs Developer: Digital Worlds
Reviewed Ver: 1.0 Min OS Req: 3.0
Price: $2.99 App Size: 28.7 MB
  • Stylish graphics
  • Varied gameplay
  • A bit too slow-pace of the game


Match this, Match that… We’ve got more puzzlers for you to check out!

A project manager in a major telecommunications supplier, an iPhone junkie and lately - a TMA editor. Love long walks on the beach and my wife, who is the most beautiful girl on the face of this planet. You can also follow me on twitter for all things iPhone and project management (and some personal stuff as well):

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