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PC Game Review: FizzBall

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Something mysterious is scaring the hungry animals that inhabit East, South and West islands. Professor Fizzwizzle and his invention, a bubble-ball machine, can save the animals and transfer them to the safe Animal Sanctuary.

FizzBall combines Breakout (brick-breaking style game), Chuzzle, and Mario Bros. with helping the animals and the environment added to the mix to keep it exciting. At the start of each level, you answer questions about an animal or guess which animal makes the sound that's played.

My three-year-old may not have the coordination to play the game, but he is captivated by the game's gorgeous interface and rhythmic music. He helps me figure out which animal makes a specific sound and gets excited when he's right. Having the music turned off won't affect the game play. You may not get all 2000 bonus points for answering the sound-related questions, but that's not a big deal.

The round begins and Fizzwizzle's ball starts small. It can only pick up a butterfly, a small food item like an acorn, or coins. As the ball absorbs several small objects, it grows and can take in bigger animals. Not only do you have to try to get the right-sized animals at the right time, but you want to avoid hitting the skunk until the ball can pick it up otherwise it reacts to the ball's hit with the spray no animal wants to smell.

 FizzBall RoundBarrels of chemical appear in some scenes and Fizzwizzle's ball needs to avoid hitting them otherwise he pollutes the environment. Scenes change with each round as it can be stormy and then peaceful snow appears in the next round. In some scenes, objects like crates and barrels line up to create a familiar shape like a heart, letter "F," or a star.

The goal for each round is to capture all the animals. A bonus round appears every few rounds with different objectives to keep the game from getting monotonous. As you complete rounds on an island, you hop to the next island until you get through all three islands. I played the game in an entire weekend as I couldn't stop until I finished it. And, I'm not one to have free time on my hands as a mom of three.

 FizzBall islandsThe ball rolls around the screen and eventually like in Brickout or pinball, it makes it way down to where Professor Fizzwizzle and his machine wait to prevent it from bouncing out. If the thought of losing a ball stresses you, play the Kids' mode in which you never lose the ball. I prefer the Kids' mode as I enjoy the game more and concentrate on other challenges.

When the ball bumps into trees, crates, and barrels, a bonus floats down for Fizzwizzle to catch. The bonus could be money, an added power like a missile to break down objects or a wider bumper, or bonus points. So Fizzwizzle doesn't just wait for the ball to roll back as he also has to grab as many of these "power ups" as he can.

Some bonus rounds require you keep the ball in play for as long as possible. This is where Kids' mode won't help and that's good because it gives the player something to strive for. Parents whose kids get mad when they lose will appreciate this feature as much as I do especially since my seven-year-old is one who doesn't like to lose.

FizzBall SanctuaryAs you complete a round, the animals appear in the sanctuary. You can check on them anytime to ensure they have enough food and money for buying food. You can also check your trophies to see what you've earned and what you need to work on. Even after completing the game, I've yet to earn some of the more challenging ones. That's my next goal, but it'll have to wait as I have my own kids to feed.

The game contains 180 levels, 40 bonus levels, and 64 animal species. Like Chuzzle, you earn trophies as you accomplish specific activities such as saving all of the birds, not breaking anything in a round, and saving the baby ducks after rescuing mama duck.

While the animal sounds and trivia is entertaining and makes it possible for my youngest to help me, I get tired of it. Thankfully, you can turn off the animal-related quizzes in the “Settings” menu, but alas my three-year-old makes a mad face when I do that.

 FizzBall TrophiesThis one is a family game and a great discovery for those of us who aren't into violent games or those that draw many of the hard-core gamers. We take pleasure in the simple games with well-designed cartoon-styled and colorful graphics just like FizzBall. Save the animals, save the environment and have a blast doing it.

The game is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems.

System Requirements

Windows 95/98/2000/ME/XP
Pentium 400MHz or better
128MB RAM
35MB hard drive space

FizzBall HomeMac OS X version 10.2 or newer
400MHz or better, Intel or PPC Mac
128MB RAM
35MB hard drive space

Linux
Pentium 400MHz or better
128MB RAM
35MB hard drive space

FizzBall doesn't have an official rating, but it qualifies for E (Everyone) as explained by the ESRB.

Download the demo to try the game and see if you can beat the high scores, which you can import directly from the Internet into the game. Game comes with a 60-day money-back guarantee. Like it? Buy it ($19.99).

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About Meryl K Evans

Meryl K. Evans, Content Maven, is the author of "Brilliant Outlook Pocketbook" and the co-author of "Adapting to Web Standards: CSS and Ajax for Big Sites." She has written and edited for a bunch of places online and off. A native Texan, she lives a heartbeat north of Dallas in Plano, Texas with her husband and three kiddos.
  • http://w6daily.winn.com/ Phillip Winn

    From your description, it sounds as if this might have a little in common with Katamari Damacy as well. There you have to roll up the world, starting small, and you can only roll up objects that are smaller than the Katamari is.

  • http://www.meryl.net/blog/ Meryl

    I haven’t seen Katamari yet, though my kids have it on the PS2 (I stick to the PC or handhelds). I’ll check it out. Thanks, Phillip.