Neuronball Is A Game About Balls Hitting Other Balls

I don't know why I find this as addictive as I do, but by God it's caught me by surprise. It's a game about balls. Pool balls, specifically. With batteries and AI chips in them. And a golf ball.

Yes, I'm serious.

It's called Neuronball, and it's a free-to-play browser game that I've suddenly become entranced by in ways I couldn't have possibly imagined.

The idea is pretty simple. You get given a team of six, uh, balls. From those you pick a team of five, organise your formation and then press a button to have your team automatically square off against another team.

You don't control your team during the match — it's a pure battle of formations, pre-planning and upgrades. Once that's all sorted out, the two teams line up in formation, a golf ball gets deposited onto the pitch and you sit there in absolute fury watching your, uh, balls collide.

And when I mean yours, I mean yours. There's a lot of clumping going on.

To prevent situations like that from becoming a stalemate, there's a pocket at each corner of the pitch. The ball gets sucked in and ejected out the opposite corner, and the balls will naturally return to their original formation — as quickly as possible — so games at least continue to flow.

But the large part of fun is really the team management and the fun. You can see the basics of my rubbish little team below.

And here's some of the upgrades that affect the personality of your balls. This is probably the kind of game where you could min-max quite a lot, with acceleration, strength and speed the three categories.

You get 10 points every level, and I imagine if you were doing this properly you would probably invest in strength with your frontline balls (to stun and knock opponents out of the way) while the back line would focus more on speed and strength.

Being a free-to-play game, there are ways to spend money. Obviously. US$2 recharges the batteries of your entire team (if you don't want to wait too long), whereas US$7 gets 12 boosters. The boosters range in utility, from improving the strength of your Neurons (that's what the balls are actually called), their overall speed and refilling their battery.

There's some cheeky mods too: you can equip your balls with "a magnetic field which will repel opponents" or a magnet that will attract the ball through magnetic fields.

Watching these little pool balls knock each other around reminds me an awful lot of CS Manager, the browser-based game where you manage a team of Counter-Strike players and the strategies they use every round.

This is probably more accessible though, and the 5 minute rounds mean you can have this running in the background at work while you, you know, actually work. It's also a reminder that browser games can be just as enticing and fulfilling as any other kind of game — especially when it's something that you can tune in and out of.

It feels weird saying that at the height of the AAA season — hell, Halo 5 is out this week, Divinity: Original Sin's launched on consoles, and Need For Speed is just around the corner — but that happens with games.

You can be caught out by the strangest things sometimes. What are your favourite browser games when you want to waste some time?


Comments

    Ok, I'm hooked on this game now. My little Neurons are kicking ass! Go Stupid Blobs!

      AH! you beat me today :(

      PleasureCore2.0

    Aha, yes it was a close one though. Shame we can't have our teams bundled under Kotaku.

    Damn you...

    I'm number 1 in NSW now...

    I was meant to be working...

    Last edited 29/10/15 4:54 pm

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