Zio Ball Review: Magnetic Pinball Obstacle Courses
Zio Ball Review
Zio Ball is a bit of pinball, a bit of a maze, a bit of Cut the Rope, and more difficult than a first glance would indicate. The challenge is to place magnetic spots that pull or push your ball toward the escape hatch.
Zio Ball is easy to understand and has few controls to master. You are given an obstacle course with a ball placed in it and magnetic spots to position in relation to the course to move the ball to the escape hatch. The red magnets pull the ball and the blue magnets push it. But getting these magnets placed so they have just the right amount of influence on the ball is the tricky part. Beyond placing the magnets, the only other control is turning them on or off. That allows you to drop the ball at strategic times to send it rolling in a useful direction.
Placing the magnets in just the right locations to move the ball through the course isn’t easy. Just a nudge one way or the other can leave the ball motionless or jammed between the magnet and the course. And coordinating the push and pull of the magnets with the timing of the on/off switch can take several attempts to get right. And refraining from trying to swing or tilt the ball using the accelerometer is hard to overcome.
The industrial look of the game suits the task perfectly. The setting of the courses resembles a tunnel or an engineering deck. There are controls for music and sounds, but I couldn’t hear anything. There’s also a control for vibration, which did work and provided feedback when the magnets were interacting with the ball.
While simple in concept and controls, Zio Ball offers a surprising level of difficulty. There are plenty of levels and courses to keep the challenge going. Zio Ball takes a bit more concentration and puzzle solving skill than many games. And if it starts to get easy, there’s always the challenge of beating your best time.
What we like:
- Simple attract/repel physics
- Objective is easy to understand
- Few, simple controls
- Not as easy as it looks
What to know:
- Limited hints available