Welcome to EXPlay, (Explain & Play) the review series where we care not for scores but tell it how it is when it comes to every game we get our hands on, whilst also taking the time to include some lengthy gameplay, to give you the reader, the chance to shape your own impressions and views whilst watching and reading.
In this explanatory review, we’re covering Bang-On Balls: Chronicles by developer Exit Plan Games:
Bang-On Balls: Chronicles: (The Explanation)
Bang-On Balls: Chronicles is a 3D adventure game where the characters are animated balls inspired by the popular Countryballs (ball-shaped characters decorated in national flags). As for the Countryballs themselves, they actually originated from the Polandball comics that began circulating on the internet back in 2009. As for the game itself, Bang-On Balls: Chronicles was actually released on Steam back in 2021 before making its way onto Nintendo Switch and other consoles much later.
In Bang-On Balls: Chronicles, players take on the role of Bob, a new hero who is about to embark on a wild and epic adventure through four (historically inaccurate) worlds featuring Vikings, Pirates, the Space Race, and Feudal Japan. Bob can be customized with a large selection of customization options like skin palates of many different flags, weapons, shields, headwear, and even tattoos. All of the skins are available right from the start and all the other customization items can be found throughout each of the game’s four worlds, with no additional paywalls or DLC required.
You can control Bob by moving him around with the Left joystick and operate the camera with the right. You can use the dash function (ZR) to attack enemies, bust open locked doors, break destructible objects, and to pick up pace when traversing the large open worlds. You can also jump with the B button and use the A button to smash down into the ground.
In each of the four worlds, you are given a number of objectives to complete but you are free to do them whenever the urge comes to you and in whichever order you feel like. For the most part, you are free to explore the worlds and fight enemy balls, rescue friendlies and take on big bad bosses in order to acquire loot to further customize your own character.
Bang-On Balls: Chronicles doesn’t have to be a solitary affair either. Up to two players can play together on a single console and up to four players can team up via local wireless or online. To do so, there are a number of areas in the game with a LAN port and cable to signify a place where you can start up a local wireless or online game. While you may have to rely on external apps for in-game communication, at least you will be able to explore and cause mayhem with your friends and have a “ball” doing it.
On the other hand, if you don’t have anyone to play with, you can summon friendly NPC characters from gumball machines to join you on your adventure. Although it is not compulsory to have them join you, they are required to open certain doors that have pressure switches. You can, of course, open these doors in multiplayer as well but should you find yourself in a pinch, you can summon NPC’s to help you and they are normally find in areas where the pressure switches are anyway.
For the most part, Bang-On Balls is a pretty fun game, and is as weird as it is charming. That said, it is far from being a perfect video game experience and does suffer from some rather annoying glitches. For example, there are instances where you can clip through the world without realizing it and then fall your death. Another issue I had was when summoning an NPC to help with the pressure switches. In the Viking world, there was one area tons of doors through Roman Bath areas. At one point, I accidentally drowned and when I respawned, I had lost my NPC and the gumball machine was gone too. I could not venture further through the stage and had to exit the stage to try again.
To sum up, Bang-On Balls: Chronicles is as wacky in name as it is in practice. I am having a lot of fun with the game and even though there are some hilarious glitches, including one that can cause you to fall through the stage, they aren’t enough to dissuade me from playing and enjoying this game. I am also a casual fan of Countryballs anyway and occasionally watch YouTubers like Drew Durnil, Mr. Spherical, and PWA for their Countryballs content. It does make it hard to be impartial on Bang-On Balls but the freedom and the randomness of it all is just something I can totally get behind.
Bang-On Balls: Chronicles: (The Gameplay)
Developers: Exit Plan Games
Publisher: Untold Tales
Platform: Nintendo Switch (eShop)
Category: Action, Adventure, Arcade, Platformer
No. of Players: 1-2 (Single System) 1-4 (Online)
Release Date: NA|EU: October 5, 2023
File Size: 3.5 GB