Gasketball is a game one suspects was named before it was conceived. Sometimes, when a pun pops into your head, an entrepreneurial venture must follow, if only to provide a vehicle with which to share the brilliance of your wordplay. So it is with Gasketball, a game that combines robots and basketball into a future sports take on the puzzle game.
Fortunately for us it’s also created by Mikengreg, maker of Solipskier, one of the strongest games for Apple’s platform, so there’s more to enjoy than a cute pun.
The game, as you might expect, has you flicking a basketball into a hoop. You earn a ‘swish’ bonus if your shot passes through the net without bouncing off the backboard but, before you start showboating with three-pointers, you must bounce the ball off various environmental objects in a set order. These begin simply enough: bounce the ball from the floor before it reaches the hoop and so on. But soon enough you’ll be considering the angles to sneak past buzz-saws, through teleportation portals and onto pinball bumpers.
Gasketball’s a game about physics and estimation: how hard should you fling the ball to carry it to its target? But it’s also a game about refining your technique. You’re awarded a rating based upon how few shots were required to score a hoop, and so much of your playtime is spent estimating shots, adjusting the power and angle of your swipe, and then restarting for the perfect run.
The result is a more staccato play loop than Solipskier’s slippery rhythms, but one that’s no less engaging. Mikengreg may be new to this kind of set level design – and at times the game struggles to find that sweet spot between forced prescription and trial and error flexibility, but there’s more than enough heart and wit to carry you through.
Supported with a raft of single and multiplayer modes including the game’s own two-player take on Tony Hawk’s H.O.R.S.E, Gasketball is a more mainstream proposition than Solipskier, shades of Angry Birds and Amazing Alex in its form and function. But this populist approach does nothing to dilute the game’s strength, another Must Play from one of iOS play’s young masters.
Buy Gasketball here.