XBLA Review: Madballs in… Babo: Invasion

In a world of dog eat dog there are videogames, then there is Madballs in… Babo: Invasion. Not only is the title “out there”, so is this game. The word ‘weird’ comes to mind in every way with Madballs. If it’s balls with weapons you want, Madballs in… Babo: Invasion will happily give it to you.

On first look you may not know what to think of Madballs. You may know the name from it’s time at its height of popularity back in the 90’s. Then again, this game is much more than a romp into nostalgia of the 90’s from a toy that Campaign_BDI_12 might as well had been the “Pet Rock #2” of the 90’s with a monstrous dose of EXTREME. Instead of a rock, you’re looking at a slew of bad ass balls with guns. So far, so good then right? Balls, Guns, and a whole lots of EXTREME.

Once you get into the single player of Madballs in… Babo: Invasion you’ll immediately be faced with one choice. What camera will you use? The two options you have are between a three quarters view much like a third person shooter which turns the game into something reminiscent of of a pinball table or a top down view that gives the game a “PAC-MANish” feel. Unfortunately no matter the choice you make you’ll come away with a feeling of claustrophobia as the camera is at all times much too confining as a multilevel zoom level modifier would have been a great touch or in this case is sorely needed.

Throughout the entire game you’ll be faced with corridor romp after corridor romp as you progress through each leveCampaign_Emo_1l as you receive better and better weapons to equip with your Madball. Some guns are better than others for certain situations. Between each of these levels you’ll see a rudimentary cutscene if you will that’ll try to give you reason or motivation to set the scene as to why you’re doing what you’re doing, but in the long run nearly any and all futile efforts of story in this game come away flat to say the least.

As you go from section to section on each level you’ll be greeted with terminals that’ll popup some kind of instruction as to what your mission is or you’ll be given an old school verbal washing by a military drill sergeant of sorts that’ll find any and every chance to yell at you with these exact words “Listen up son!”, over and over and over. But just as you think you’ve heard the last of that “Mad”ball he appears again with another cunning line to yell at you, but never fear as he’ll be making sure you’re listening up 80% of the time. And sure, repetition will be found in everything we do in life, yet someone yelling at you in general much less in a Madballs videogame can grade on you.

Each environment is nicely detailed from jungles, space ships, industrial, ice covered, and more. Once again though, in the long run you’ll be hard pressed to care as you’ll been confined to a small speck of a view into the environments you’re placed.

Once you’ve gone through the single player you’ll immediately want to head into the Multiplayer; the half of the game MP_SK_006you’ll want to keep coming back to. Madballs gives you the customary set of multiplayer features as you’d find in just  about any game. Unfortunately lots of the weapons are locked away until you receive them in the single player game as you build up experience with each weapon until you reach a certain kill threshold that’ll unlock the rest and so on.

Where as lots of the maps are taken straight from the Single player environments, the real kicker here is the avatar support in a separate multiplayer menu. But, not so fast though as you watch your avatar get mutated with confetti to boot into a Madball, you avatars head is the only thing you’ll get to see in the game proper. So, if you’ve been craving for more avatar support in games themselves and your thing is to shoot other avatars up this is the best thing on the block currently.

By in large, Madballs in… Babo: Invasion is a competent shooter, yet with its many little EXTREME quirks, faults, and/or annoyances you can still have quite a bit of fun with it. You won’t find anything deep or new here. The feeling of claustrophobia with the in-tight camera may be an issue for some. If that is you, this game have lots of fun in it if you can overcome its many short comings.