Review - Devilish: Ball Bounder

Discussion in 'GBAtemp Reviews & Guides' started by Luse, Jun 5, 2005.

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Jun 5, 2005

Review - Devilish: Ball Bounder by Luse at 4:47 AM (4,000 Views / 0 Likes) 0 replies

  1. Luse

    Banned Luse Now with more MOOSE!!!

    Nov 5, 2002
    Devilish: Ball Bounder




    First there was Pong, a game that had two lines (representing paddles) and a pixel dot (representing a ball). The object of the game was to bounce the pixel between the two lines and keep it going until someone missed.

    Then, there was Breakout, this time using one line (paddle), a dot (ball) and a bunch of breakable blocks (wall). The object was to destroy all the blocks and go on to the next level.

    There was also Arkanoid which some hail as the king of the genre, though there was nothing more to it then what breakout basically started in 1978...

    Then there was Devilish.

    Devilish used the same principle as the above games. With paddles and a ball you try to keep the ball from falling off the screen, but it adds monsters, walls, bosses and a devilish (hence the name) theme, all to the tune of generic spooky music. In more ways then one Devilish surpasses the first games by giving you a feeling of progress, of sudo-action game level design, of accomplishing a bit more then just a high score, and adds to the genre in it‘s own way.

    That addition comes in the form of dual paddles, the top paddle can be moved up and down and side to side, while the bottom paddle just moves side to side. Also you can tilt the top panel so that it can knock the ball diagonally and horizontally.

    The original Devilish was on the Genesis/Megadrive and also the Game Gear, neither one aspired to greatness, or classic game status, and perhaps deservingly so, but I’d still recommend atleast trying them out as both are very different from each other, as is the DS version. ​

    Devilish DS breakdown:


    The first thing you’re going to notice is that Devilish doesn’t have any touchscreen support, it just makes use of the dual screens, showing the playing field as a cohesive whole, giving the impression of more room to manoeuvre than the original’s ever did.

    The controls are simple, the D-pad controls the paddles moving side to side sets both paddles moving in harmony, moving up and down raises or lowers the top paddle.

    Pressing the L or R buttons will make the top paddle shift in position so that it will angle in one of eight directions, mostly so you can angle the ball sideways, or attempt to control where the ball will go.

    Pressing X will make the score menu’s disappear and reappear, pressing start pauses the game and brings up an option menu, and pressing select brings up the item menu to tell you what each item in the game does..

    The score menu will show you the score, how many balls you have left, the P (power) meter, the S (Speed) meter, and how much time you have left to complete a level. If that wasn’t enough it shows you the exact same readout on both screens.​


    Believe it or not the two paddles and ball have names, though a useless addition the game it does attempt to tell a story, and I feel all the more lucky that I imported this and didn’t have to read a word of it. If somehow you must always have a story to go with your games, it’s got a medieval setting, and the monsters are trying to destroy the “good guys” etc..etc..​


    Man = King aka burning The sword aka top panel
    Woman = King woman aka sealer aka bottom panel
    Kid = Fairy of dragon aka kid aka the ball​


    So how’s all this work then? Simple, it doesn’t…

    When you tilt the top paddle so that you can get the ball to go sideways (or any direction other then the straight position) you have a 25% chance of the ball just going though the paddle. Even with this problem, you’re safe with the bottom panel as back up. Except that sometimes the ball will just pass through it as well.

    Now, while this is a huge error that could render the game unplayable, the designers must have brainstormed all night to make up for this.

    The ball never feels fast enough to make you feel like your in danger of losing it. The original Genesis game had a huge sense of speed, the Game Gear version had a small margin of error (the sprites where made larger on the screen so you had less room to move in), someone decided to make the DS version so slow that it hurts. Even after getting speed bursts by collecting items the ball is never moving that fast, maybe if you maxed the Speed meter out, but you‘d probably run out of time before that happened.

    Which brings us to the items.

    The game seems to make a deal out of having items, and yes one of them which makes the panels larger so you have more of a chance of stopping the ball from exiting the bottom screen is useful, but nothing else seemed to do anything noteworthy. They are there to give you a sense that they didn’t just ruin the original, they also spat on it with useless crap.

    The point of each level is to progress through it racking up points by destroying monsters, breaking though walls and making it to the end where a portal awaits and will be warped out. After each group of levels (world 1-1, 1-2, etc) there will be a level with a boss.

    Boss fights are simple, just let the ball go and don’t let it fall off screen until the boss is dead. ​


    Boss 1 is a spider, that moves around the screen, spiting out webs that the ball will bounce against. When the ball hits it’s head, it causes damage, although there are times the ball will hit it’s head and just pass through it.

    Boss 2 is a nude demon woman that spits out heart shaped kisses that are supposed to stop the ball from hitting her, again the only way to cause damage is to hit her from the front. Much to my surprise on my first visit to her she spat out a kiss that knocked the ball between her and the wall and ended up killing her in 5 seconds worth of back and forth bashing. Yes this game is that challenging.

    Boss 3? Well it’s 2 spiders… 2 screens, 2 spiders a world of innovative new uses for the DS brought to you by Starfish, the envelope pushers.

    Do you really want to know that the next boss is another Demon woman, only dressed up as a bat woman? That she was shooting bats instead of hearts, and she got stuck between the ball and a wall and killed herself for me?

    I dare not mention boss 5 then… It’s the final one after all it must be good…

    Ha… I’ll never tell, you have to get the game yourself (evil laughter) but I can promise you that any level of excitement will escape you, as you sigh wearily at the travesty you just went through willingly.

    The first boss in the genesis game atleast looked cool for it’s day, hell even now it makes this game look dated the designs and execution is that bad. ​


    While each world has a different theme, it’s looped add Infinity to the point of madness, and sounds like it was ripped from a bad eighties movie. Nothing sounds good, nothing stands out, and it’s only note worthy in how fast it will take you to turn the volume off.


    Looks like they used early 16bit tile sets, rearranged them and added rendered looking sprites, the perfect game for a non-graphic whore I suppose. Nothing looks good, even the ball looks like crap, pasted into a world where it doesn’t fit.

    Replay Value:

    I’d say there isn’t any, while you could play it again and again to get a better score in each world, I can’t fathom pulling this game out other then to show people what the DS’s version of Superman 64 looks like. Their doesn’t seem to be a level select either, even after completing it.

    Last but not least, in terms of game length, I went from world 1 to world 4 in less then 45 minutes first time I sat down to play it. Considering there are only 5 worlds, it’s safe to say that once you get the controls down (which is maybe 30 second to a minute’s worth of time) your looking at a game that only lasts and hour, and has no saving graces.​

    So to round this up, so I can stop writing about this.

    + I still paid less for this import then I would have paid for a new PAL DS game
    + I got a few good laughs at the bosses, the level design, the utter lack of fun
    + Knowing the torture is almost over when this review ends
    + Knowing that taking one for the team might save anyone curious about this crapfest to steer clear of it.

    - It butchered a concept that was sub-par to begin with
    - When you die because the ball goes through the panel it should have bounced off of
    - When I can’t find one good reason to recommend this over anything else in the DS line-up
    - I realized it took me longer to write this review then finish the game

    Gameplay: 2/10
    Graphics: 1/10
    Sound: 1/10
    Replay Value: 1/10
    Box Art/Packaging:3/10

    Grand Total: 2/10
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