Dart, dodge and roll your way through the demanding trials on the Road To Ballhalla. Deceptively tricky and by no means for the faint of heart, this game is the ultimate test of will. Developed by Torched Hill and published by tinyBuild, Road To Ballhalla is a rhythm-driven puzzle platformer. The game pits you against difficult odds as you roll your way in and out of danger, all while being mocked for your efforts.
Road to Ballhalla begins simple enough with a base concept of surviving through 20 of its treacherous trials until finally, you earn your place in the glory of Ballhalla. You begin as a meagre ball being directed by the game as an unforgiving written tutorial presents itself to you. These ‘helpful’ hints appear as floor texts that are scattered throughout each level, guiding you and sabotaging you all at the same time, with amusing puns and humour along the way. Each level within Road to Ballhalla becomes noticeably more challenging as you move up the ranks. Your ball has its very own health that will deplete if you’re not careful. Health is easily replenished with bright orbs of light that are littered around each and every level. Road to Ballhalla does try to subdue your insanity (sometimes) with the help of checkpoints. These are separate orbs of light that will save your progress when rolled upon.
The mechanics in Road to Ballhalla are simple to grasp. You control your ball via directional keys and you can also boost the speed of your ball as well, although these do have consequences at times. Boosting obviously makes your ball roll faster, however, the ball itself never really feels like it gains momentum on its own to reach a faster speed.
The level design can be exceptionally devious. Some levels will introduce perilous circumstances, expecting you to rely solely on skill and wit, usually right after you’ve met death a few dozen times. This will often elicit feelings of immense irritation as certain hurdles can seem a feat to overcome. The puns and humour are probably the best part of Road to Ballhalla. I for one have never been more delightfully frustrated as the game cheekily comments on my failures. You are rewarded for most of your suffering by unlocking various colours and add-ons onto your ball. This is a nice little customization feature in the game that encourages you to keep persevering for more rewards.
Pulsing, neon lights and challenging obstacles are all intricately woven together with the help of a captivating soundtrack in Road to Ballhalla. You’ll have to rely on timing and rhythm to progress through objectives with ease. Not only does this make for a clever puzzle solving experience, but It looks visually stunning to boot. Every inch of sound is closely characterised from the orbs of light you collect to even the faint sound of your ball rolling into barriers.
Road to Ballhalla is truly a distinctive game with its rhythm driven mechanics. The dynamic and well-produced soundtrack of the game is matched closely by its quirky humour and wit. Complex, wacky, and sometimes even infuriating, Road to Ballhalla is an altogether beautiful puzzle platforming experience that you’ll be happy to go grey for.
Sunita Osborne is a freelance journalist and contributor to PN2. Go say hi @sunitaosborne