Sega isn’t making new Super Monkey Ball games. And Marble Madness was in arcades more than three decades ago, but the marble-platforming genre lives on Steam in the form of The Little Ball That Could. Developer NaissusWorks launched the game last week for $8, and it has filled the sphere-shaped hole in my life.
The Little Ball That Could is the story of a ball that doesn’t have a heart. Because of that, the machinery that … lets balls into the “Haven” won’t let our hero past those pearly gates. At least that’s my read on the intro. Instead, your sphere gets sent into a trash-compactor pit with the triangles, squares, and the rest of the trash. Thankfully, you can roll your way out of those kinds of situations and into level after level of obstacle courses.
NaissusWorks first built The Little Ball That Could as a mobile game, and you can see that in how it presents levels. Each stage has three challenges that will earn you a star. You get one star for beating the level under a certain time, another for collecting three gems, and another for finding the puzzle piece. You can replay each stage a couple of times to try to get all three stars, but I also found myself replaying them dozens of times to find the optimal path to get the fastest finish time. The Little Ball That Could has an online leaderboard, and it’s fun to look for shortcuts to see if you can beat most of the other players in the world.
All of this is in my gameplay video, which you can watch by pressing play above.