BallZ from Tamoggemon was installed on a Nokia 5800 XPressMusic, an S60 5th edition device running Qt and Symbian OS 9.4. Qt is a is a cross-platform application framework. Using Qt, one can write applications once and deploy them across many desktop and embedded operating systems without rewriting the source code.
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Installation is simply via the Nokia Application Installer available in the Nokia PC Suite. Alternatively, you can copy the installer into your mobile phone and open it to begin the installation. The installer performs a one time download of Qt components from the web. Therefore you need to keep the mobile connected to the web, preferably WiFi.
BallZ is based on the classic video game, JezzBall which was programmed by Dima Pavlovsky, in 1992 as part of Microsoft Entertainment Pack. Despite Microsoft withdrawing support in 1996, the game has a loyal fan base even today. Read on to find out if the Symbian version of this famous game, running on Qt still engages us, in the era of multiplayer online extravaganzas.
BallZ is a game in which which two balls, referred to as atoms, bounce about a rectangular field of play, or room. The player advances to the next level (with correspondingly higher numbers of atoms and lives) by containing the atoms in progressively smaller spaces, until at least 75% of the area is blocked off.
The purpose of the game is to contain the atoms within a room at most 25% the size of the initial room. You can create walls to contain atoms in smaller and smaller rooms. The walls can be created vertically or horizontally as the situation demands and you must tap at the bottom right of the screen to change the growing direction of the wall.
When a room is made that contains no atoms, the room disappears. The amount of black on the screen is displayed as a percentage, and when this percentage reaches 75% or more, the level is won and play proceeds to the next level. The first level has two atoms, and each subsequent level has an additional atom. BallZ has 30 exciting levels.
If the wall is being constructed at the ball hits the wall before its completed, you lose a life. You get new lives as you progress to the next level. If all lives are lost, you have to start all over again.
BallZ does not let you construct another wall until the first one is completed but you can change the direction of the next wall that you are going to construct and be better prepared. That’s a tip worth remembering.
As the levels go higher, the number of balls you are confronted with is higher and the game gets further complicated. The speed of the balls increases but to your advantage, the walls are constructed faster.
In the first level, the wall grows agonizingly slowly but you will eventually your pace to the speed at which the wall grows.
Graphics and Animation
BallZ has just adequate graphics and animation. Its designed to be very similar to the classic game and it shows.
Music Score and Sound Effects
The game has background music built in, which can be disabled to, if you are playing at your work place There is no configurable background music available. As always, you can play your own music in the background as you play BallZ. That reminds me about all the news that Apple iOS 4 created when it enabled multitasking so that background applications can be played, including music. This feature has been in Symbian for ages that we simply fail to appreciate it.
As you tap the screen to start a new game or for other options, a graph trail follows your touch on the screen, almost guiding you to touch the right spot on the screen. That’s a unique design and I have never seen it anywhere before.
I didn’t find any weaknesses in the game itself. The levels could have been timed, to make it more competitive and more engrossing, making the player come back and find ways to beat the clock and his previous best.
BallZ can be downloaded at the Ovi Store. The biggest positive I see from this game is that its based on Qt, Nokia‘s new cross platform application and UI Framework. Qt has performed admirably well on the Nokia 5800, which is grossly underpowered, in terms of both the CPU and RAM. All my misgivings about Qt, becoming a resource hog were misplaced. I am highly optimistic about Qt running on Symbian^3 devices in future.
BallZ is a Must Have and I’ll give it 5 of 5.