Thoughts on TB...

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FNG / Fresh Meat
Mar 5, 2011
Having played through TB a couple of times, I thought I would give my thoughts on it. (Note: this contains spoilers throughout, don't read if you haven't completed it!)

First off, superb game. I thoroughly enjoyed playing it, and I'm glad I bought it. The gameplay quality really is on the same level as Portal. You got a real sense of progression as you worked through the different levels, and each section clearly had it's own 'theme'. The puzzles blended into the themes very well, and they were well thought out & designed (the puzzles that stood out were, among others, 1. dropping the ball through a trapdoor using a magnet & timed switch, where you have to pull the Ball up a ramp to roll it back down to hit a button, and 2. navigating the Ball through a series of overhead magnets while getting poked at by a zombie. Certainly encourages you to think on your feet!).

The concept itself was innovative, and well thought through, especially with regards to zombie combat. Bowling through a group of zombies with the crunching sound & resulting gibs is very satisfying :)

Now, onto the bad points/constructive criticism. These mostly concern the story, and its integration into the game. As I said above, overall TB is a superb game, but these would have made it even better :)

Most of the story you only got when you found the secrets, and on a first run through, you are highly unlikely to find all of them. The ones you do find are out of order, and don't really make sense. As a result, you don't really get an idea for what the ball is or why it's so important until the very end (and even then, I only really understood it when I read a few spoilers on these forums). For most of the game, it's just a big heavy object that's useful for pressing buttons & killing zombies. Making the backstory more obvious, more explicit references to the ball as a power source (eg cables attaching to sockets on the surface when plugged into something) would be good.

The puzzles themselves didn't really fit into the story as I understood it. Given, it is a puzzle game, so they are required, but in several places the thoughts were 'we need another puzzle here, let's make it do this and this and this, that'll be cool!' with little sense of the area being useful when it was initially built. For example, why was there a series of magnets attached to a roof that could be rotated using buttons on the floor? What purpose did that serve when it was first built? (maybe moving quarried stone or lava, you could have had boxes lying around with magnets attached to the top)?

On a similar theme, what were the cubes for, why were they lying around, and why did they need to go in certain locations to make things work?
Why were there so many ball trains around when there was obviously only one Ball? What were they used for other than for carrying the Ball around, and why are they all designed to carry the Ball?

It's never really explained who the dude with the staff was, what he wanted, and why he got into the 'vehicle' (ahem) at the end. Maybe the idea was that he was mysterious, but some more pointers to why you're solving all these puzzles for him rather than 'because it's a game and that's what you're meant to do' would be appreciated.
Or, for that matter, what the big yeti things or the various birds were. Why was there a bird that looked like something out of Resident Evil in a huge cave other than the Rule of Cool?

As a personal preference, I would have preferred fewer puzzles based around killing the yetis & more tricky logic or physics puzzles. Once you've figured out how to hurt the yetis each time, it's quite annoying to have to run through the same thing 2 more times to progress, especially when it doesn't always work each time (they move at exactly the wrong moment, say). They kept on getting in the way! Very annoying.

There weren't really any puzzles where I actually had to think & work it out for more than a few seconds or just follow the arrows & do what seems obvious, without knowing why I'm pressing this button (say).

I also would have loved to see more done with the low gravity ball and with the lights on the ball (light-activated switches, light-sensitive enemies anyone?)

I think that's everything. As I said before, this is a superb game, and it's in my top all-time favourites. Thanks very much for producing it & spending your time on it, everyone who was involved! Major kudos to you all.


Grizzled Veteran
Jan 19, 2010
I had a great reading! And i have to agree with pretty much eveerything =)