Back in the 80’s you might have seen a couple kids in your neighborhood playing with Madballs. Strange? Yes. What’s even stranger is that two decades later, here we are playing Madballs…In Babo Invasion on the Xbox Live Arcade. Developer Playbrains brings the round shaped balls back equipped with a variety of weapons and abilities, but in this day and age are Madballs still relevant to those 80’s babies who are now in their late 20’s. Should you reopen your heart to balls with this Xbox Live Arcade title or should Madballs stay being your childhood toy regret?
Madballs in…Babo: Invasion features a 12 stage campaign wrapped up with a story that does not compliment the game at all. After 10 levels, I had no idea what progression I’ve made as far as story line goes but I never needed one. The one and only objective the campaign has is get from A to B, simple enough. Luckily, Madballs does have plenty of unlockables and secrets to find in each level as you progress which adds an incentive to replay a level. Madballs can be somewhat difficult at times, especially when the 3 strikes and your out rule applies. Once you lose your 3 lives then back to the beginning of the level you go. This might be the best time to invite a friend to play co-op and make things a little easier. The game can either be played from a top-down view or the default isometric third-person view. The game does have a few hiccups like briefly freezing during battle and will slow down when theirs too much action on screen.
If you’re a Madballs fan you’ll be disappointed when you get to the character select screen. Only 2 of the characters are actual recognizable Madballs characters, the rest are brand new Madball characters. So why stamp this game with the Madballs name when it features only two Madballs characters. The game is pretty easy to pick up and play. The left stick moves your balls around and the right trigger shoots your weapon. Their are about 10 weapons to pick up, each having an alternative firing mode. Each Madball character also has its own unique ability like flying, going underground, and turning into a huge ball. All these features add to the gameplay in the multiplayer modes.
Madballs takes the action online with its multiplayer modes. The game features online co-op, Skirmish, Team Skirmish, Capture The Flag, Invasion, and Avatar play. The Avatar game mode gets rid of your torso and limbs, clamps a weapons to the side of your head, fills you up with confetti and deathmatch. This is probably the best use of Xbox 360 Avatar to date, it’s just fun to see your avatar shooting at other avatar heads. Multiplayer is really face paced and for the most part its fun to play but when the lag issues pop up, they really hurt the game.
In conclusion, Madballs…In Babo Invasion should lose the Madballs name. It seems like Madballs is trying to relaunch the company by stamping their name with a game that has nothing to do with Madballs. Nonetheless, Madballs…In Babo Invasion does offer a lengthy campaign and some great multiplayer gameplay, when its not laggy. Their are dozens of unlockables and secrets to find with will extend the gameplay time. For the price of 800 Ms Points ($10) its not too much of a gamble but if you have your points ready consider purchasing Madballs.