Have you ever heard of Countryballs, an online satirical comic and meme? These comics feature ball-like characters in various scenarios, generally poking fun at national stereotypes, international relations, and historical events. The origin of this internet phenomenon dates back to 2009 when a group of Polish frequent visitors to several Polish websites took over a free online drawing canvas on drawball.com. They painted the whole canvas into a Polish flag, and in the middle, they wrote the word “POLSKA.” The Countryballs, as we know them today, are a continuation of the format made popular by illustrator Falco and have a thriving community on Reddit and Facebook. And now, they are immortalized in this collector’s open-world sandbox game made by Exit Plan Games.s.
Bang-on-balls goes to Bobbywood
In “Bang-on-balls: Chronicles,” you assume the role of a countryball named BOB. BOB ventures into Bobbywood, a playful parody of Hollywood (obviously). Here, he causes chaos in various distorted historical events. If you’re in search of a gripping narrative with unexpected plot twists, you might want to look elsewhere because “Bang-on-balls” doesn’t offer any of that. BOB’s primary mission is collecting items and breaking anything in his path. Your adventure begins in Bobbywood, which also serves as your central hub. Each world features its movie set hangar, accessible through a massive TV, leading to your next objective.
Within these worlds, you’re assigned various objectives that ultimately culminate in a boss battle. One of the initial worlds I explored was a realm inhabited by Vikings and Romans. The first time I rolled through this expansive world, I was genuinely astounded. The level of detail in the environment is astonishing. I encountered a massive castle, a Viking village, subterranean mines, and picturesque beaches. Every area and biome is meticulously crafted, providing ample opportunities for exploration and engagement. Other worlds transported me to scenarios like a race to the moon between America and Russia, a Caribbean infested with pirates and voodoo masters, and feudal Japan. Each world is distinctive in its setting and a joy to play.
Enthralling worlds filled with balls (and items)
One of my first tasks in this world was to destroy Viking boats. I dashed towards the objective, demolishing everything in my path. before i knew i came upon a Roman castle where I was immediately attacked by the Romans. I began to dash and bounce to fend off their attacks, and in the process, everything around me started to explode and splinter. Before I knew it, the entire castle lay in ruins, with only a few walls remaining, and a mid-boss rushed at me. Unfortunately for him, he never stood a chance against my bouncy strength. I kept bouncing on his head until the last breath was drawn out of him. Once the smoke cleared, I spotted a shiny helmet to collect. I picked it up and immediately put it on, making my ball look quite imposing with its new helmet.
After this fight, I continued down the castle toward the boat area, where I could destroy the ships needed to complete my quest. On my way there, I noticed a floating sword that I could collect. Of course, I wanted this item to go along with my newly acquired helmet. I began platforming my way toward this floating sword. I picked it up, put it on, and that’s when I noticed yet another item floating nearby. Before I knew it, I was jumping and dashing around the map, collecting items and completely forgetting about my quest. There’s just so much to collect that you can easily get distracted.
Items are categorized into different classes, including helmets, weapons, shields, masks, sound modifiers, and even small ball pets. You can customize your appearance at any time and create the weirdest combinations you can think of. Each level has a specific number of collectibles, which are easily tracked using the item menu. Every item that can be collected is displayed there, and if it’s blacked out, it means you still need to find it. This way, you won’t miss anything, and you’ll always know what you’re missing.
With all the collecting, you could almost forget that this game is essentially a platformer. And a good platformer needs solid controls to go with it. It’s reassuring to know that Bang-on-balls has spot-on controls. It’s a delight to dash, jump, and fight your way through the vast worlds, and many items you can find require a bit of platforming to reach. The only issue I had with this was the camera. The camera’s angle is quite close to your character, and because of this, occasionally the environment got in the way, blocking my view. It wasn’t a significant hassle, but it was somewhat annoying at times.
The soundtrack in Bang-on-balls is really good, with each level having its own theme that matches the setting it portrays. The numerous ball NPCs you come across speak in their own gibberish language and go about their business or perform various jobs. It’s genuinely fun to watch them as they go about their daytime activities, and you can even bounce them around.
However, it’s unfortunate that the game becomes somewhat repetitive halfway through. Yes, you have objectives to fulfill, but that’s just a small part of the game. And the four levels that I’ve played so far all ultimately revolve around collecting stuff. It’s worth noting that you can invite a friend to wreak havoc together. This can be done with up to four players through online co-op or with two players in couch co-op. I’m pretty sure this makes the game even more enjoyable, but alas, I haven’t had the chance to test it.
Bang-on-Balls” is a genuinely enjoyable and rewarding collect-a-thon. The worlds are brimming with detail and are a joy to explore. The controls and platforming are spot on, with the only issue being the occasional annoyance caused by the camera. Towards the end, “Bang-on-Balls” can become somewhat repetitive, but at least you have the option to team up with friends and wreak havoc together.
+ So much stuff to collect
+ fast gameplay
+ The world design is absolutely beautiful
- Camera view
- can be repetitive