August 12, 2010
Overview:Finger Balance by Coconut Island is a simple yet unique physics based puzzle game. It not only challenges your fingers, but your patience as well. The object of the game is fairly straight forward; you must balance a ball that is sitting on top of a horizontal rod by simply placing your thumbs over each end of the rod. It boasts a retro style arcade feel along with a physics engine that is so precise, it will make your toes curl. With both thumbs on the screen, your goal is to maneuver the ball up to the top of each maze, while avoiding contact with the walls. Don't take too long though, as there is a different target time you must beat for each level. Differences aside, I found the theme of this game to be quite reminiscing of the timeless classic Operation, where you have to successfully remove the ailment without setting off the buzzer.
Features:Finger Balance offers 30 levels in the current version under review. The levels are divided into 3 difficulty settings; Easy, Normal, and Hard. The game starts off with simple static mazes and gradually progresses into dynamic and extremely complex ones. This is an OpenFeint enabled title, though at the moment only supports the Leaderboards option. It's great for checking how you stack up against the likes of other players, both worldwide and in your area; with your score being based off how fast and effective you are at completing each maze. A nice little extra is the game's InGame Replay feature. This allows you to view your last 6 best plays on each level. You can take advantage of this by clicking one of the little blue arrows under the "Local" sidebar, while the game is paused. It's quite useful when you need to review some old strategies which you utilized to conquer a level.
Breakdown:The Good Finger Balance is as addicting as it is fun. The element of physics mixed with crisp, clean graphics and lighthearted sound effects make it an exceptional pick up and play experience. The visuals do a great job at capturing the excitement of finally completing that ruthless maze. When passing the ball across the finish line, a little character pops up on the screen and celebrates your victory. I especially enjoyed the fact that there isn't one way of doing things; after all, the ball is subject to physics. You can formulate a variety of your own strategies and execute them to produce different results each time. It doesn’t take long before you find your comfort zone in this game. On mazes with large gaps, I used a trick where I would rapidly drag the rod down the gap, and wait for the ball to follow it down back on top. This trick saves a lot of time, as you're not cautiously lowering the rod down and wasting precious time; you'll have a higher score as a result. Plotting new techniques and comparing the end result to your last run definitely adds to the fun factor of this game. The Bad While Finger Balance is loads of fun, it isn’t free of shortcomings. My gripe with this game is its lack of content. 30 levels may seem plenty, given its complex puzzles and challenging gameplay; but after playing through them all, it kind of leaves you underwhelmed at the end. For starters, it lacks alternate game modes which other titles have spoiled us with. Personally, I don’t see myself playing through it a second time after finishing the game. If they only had a couple more modes of play, they would keep me glued longer. Sure there are 3 difficulty levels, but that’s a given these days. By no means does this make Finger Balance a bad game, it just leaves much to be desired. Luckily, Coconut Island acknowledged this problem and promised players new features and levels every month. This will hopefully keep players engaged longer, as I really enjoy this game. How much content they’ll actually add remains to be seen.
The Verdict:Whether you’re a puzzle junkie or a casual pick up and player, Finger Balance has got you covered. For its simple concept, this title packs a pretty mean punch. If you’re looking for a game that pulls you in and works your emotions, then this is where it’s at! With laborious mazes, easy graphics, and a modest price tag, Finger Balance is a should buy! But don’t take my word for it, check it out for yourself!
Band Band Jump