Preview: Madballs in Babo Invasion

Madballs in Babo Invasion

has an interesting back story. Back when Canadian publisher Playbrains pitched the game to Microsoft, it was originally just going to be another Babo game. The people that checked the game out at Microsoft thought this was a Madballs game though and from there, Playbrains was introduced to the people that owned the Madballs license. And that’s how we got a game based on a really old toy line.

This is Playbrains’ first console title and the amount of work that has been put into this game is staggering. It’s going to be one of the deepest Xbox LIVE Arcade games ever released, thanks to all of the game’s modes and features.

Hit the break to find out what Madballs is all about.

Madballs in Babo Invasion (XBLA)
Developer: Playbrains

To be released: Summer 2009

Madballs is being described as a “casual hardcore” experience. Sounds weird, but it actually makes sense. Anyone can pick up the game and have some fun with it, but there’s a layer of depth to the game that will definitely please hardcore gamers.

Madballs will feature ten original created characters, and two actual Madballs characters. More Madballs characters, and an assortment of other goodies will be coming by way of downloadable content in the future. There are five different classes that the Madballs fit into: assault class, heavy class, support class, runner class and flying class. Players can switch to other characters via the swapping machines found in the single-player mode, or after getting killed in the multiplayer mode.

Each Madball also has two types of special abilities. For instance, my favorite character in the game, Magmor, has the ability to increase in size and roll others over. Using abilities will drain your special meter, but the meter recharges over time.

The single-player portion of the game can see up to four players going through ten different levels where they’ll encounter various types of enemies and a nice amount of puzzles. There will also be 50 unlockables and 50 secrets players can find in the single-player.

There will be ten types of weapons in Madballs, and each gun has two modes to them. Some guns have a heat and cold type of damage and some guns have an energy and impact type of damage. Each enemy you encounter will have a certain weakness. For instance, you’ll come across a fire-type monster that can be killed easier if you use the ice blast from your gun. That enemy can still be killed by your gun’s fire type, but it will just take longer to kill it.

The real meat of Madballs is in the multiplayer portion. Up to 16 players can go at it in the various multiplayer modes on 21 different maps. You’ll have deathmatch, team deathmatch, capture the flag, Avatar mode and Invasion.

In Invasion mode, each team will have the chance to create a map from a selection of 150 tiles. The game will automatically determine how big of a map the teams can create, and is based on how many players there are in the game. Each member of the team will have a few seconds to put down a tile on the map builder before it’s the next player’s turn. Once that part of the map building process is over, players will then select and vote where their base will be located on the map. Then both teams will see the entire map created by each side and jump into the match.

Players will need to take over a majority of nodes located on the freshly created maps which will allow the team to attack the enemy’s base. If the team loses nodes, than the enemy’s shields will pop back up again.

In Avatar mode, players will play with their own Avatar’s rolling head! A machine in the game will convert your Avatar into a head rolling wrecking machine, and can control just like the other Madballs. The controls, by the way, are great. The major differences with the Avatars are that they can jump, which takes the place of special abilities. The heads will also increase in size based on how many other people they’ve killed. It’s really funny seeing a giant head Avatar rolling around for some reason. This does make you an easier target though, and you’ll be returned to normal size once you’re killed.

Overall, there’s a lot here for players to mess with. Best of all, Madballs is going to have one of the deepest trial modes ever to hit XBLA. The demo will be out when the game is released, and you can actually play online multiplayer with people that purchase the game. You can play the demo for up to 30 minutes (or three game sessions — whichever comes first), and only have two characters and a couple of weapons to play with.

This is definitely a game that can’t be missed thanks in large part to everything that’s being offered. Plus, you’re watching little freaky heads roll around and kill each other! How can that not be fun?

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Hamza Aziz
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