Resolution Interactive released their first iPhone game last week: Clusterball Arcade [App Store].

This game came with high expectations after we'd all seen some impressive preview videos. Clusterball Arcade is an extension of an existing PC game called Clusterball which appears to be a multi-player sport. The iPhone version, however, is a one-man game against the clock and the scoreboard.

You are the pilot of a ship which you must glide over ramps, collect balls and score goals while attempting to complete the course within the allotted time. Despite the sports theme, the iPhone version of the game is more of a checkpoint racer with various obstacles and bonuses available along the way.

Although it only has 10 stages, each stage has a variety of paths (ramps) that can be taken. While some ramps carry higher scoring balls, they also present more difficult paths.

While Clusterball offers small game "tips" while each level loads, there are no real instructions on strategy or explanations of many of obstacles and powerups. If you treat the game like a traditional checkpoint racer, there is little reason to experiment with different paths. And since the game only allows you to start from stage one, there is a large incentive to try to complete each level at all costs.

The inclusion of the global high score list, however, indicates that this is the ultimate goal of gameplay, but with a restart to stage one each time, it may take a lot of trial and error to make dramatic improvements in your score. I, personally, found this goal to be unmotivating, and would have preferred to be able to easily replay more advanced levels individually.

The ship is controlled through the iPhone's accelerometer and takes some getting used to, but does offer an enjoyable experience once you get the hang of it. (There is no way to calibrate the accelerometer) In general, the gameplay and animation are smooth but the game does suffer from some memory issues (see below) and slowdowns which we hope will be addressed shortly.

This gameplay video shows footage from the release version of the game. The other ship that is seen is a "ghost ship" which shows the historic movements of someone else on the track. The ghost player can from your own personal runs or can be downloaded from someone on the global high score list.

Unfortunately, the biggest problem with this version of Clusterball is the one of stability. Clusterball 1.0 has serious issues with memory usage and will frequently complain of low-memory situations. Fortunately, the CEO of Resolution Interactive has informed us that a patch to address the memory issues is in the approval queue.

Game Details
Name: Clusterball Arcade (v1.0) Price: $9.99 [Buy]
Developer: Resolution Interactive AB Size: 17.9 MB
While Clusterball Arcade offers a reasonably enjoyable 3d "racing/sports" experience, it currently suffers from memory issues which are said to be addressed shortly. The gameplay is much abbreviated from its PC counterpart and is only a single player game against the scoreboard and the game restarts at stage one with each play.

TouchArcade Rating

  • NotYou

    I agree with this. I actually think the game is pretty addicting, but could be much better. Different game modes would completely fix the problem, I think.

    I still think it's fun and I feel fine having paid $9.99 for it. I'm really hoping a update will add a little more to it, though.

  • NotYou

    I agree with this. I actually think the game is pretty addicting, but could be much better. Different game modes would completely fix the problem, I think.

    I still think it's fun and I feel fine having paid $9.99 for it. I'm really hoping a update will add a little more to it, though.

  • mavis

    Thanks for the review. I think those of us waiting for the inevitable price drop should be glad we waited. ;)

  • mavis

    Thanks for the review. I think those of us waiting for the inevitable price drop should be glad we waited. ;)

  • arn

    @NotYou Glad you agree. Cause I know you liked it when you got it. For people who are wondering. There is a great game $9.99 in there, but with the current gameplay mode (highscore, start from level 1 only), I just can't get that excited by it.

  • arn

    @NotYou Glad you agree. Cause I know you liked it when you got it. For people who are wondering. There is a great game $9.99 in there, but with the current gameplay mode (highscore, start from level 1 only), I just can't get that excited by it.

  • Wegmans

    @Mavis

    I agree with you... i'll be waiting for a price decrease... I wish there was multiplayer, and you could fly wherever you wanted, not in a linear fashion..

  • Wegmans

    @Mavis

    I agree with you... i'll be waiting for a price decrease... I wish there was multiplayer, and you could fly wherever you wanted, not in a linear fashion..

  • Aeroflux

    Yup, review pretty much nailed it down. I realize my own ambitions of playing multi-player over 3G became a bias against the game, and I still have fun with it, but the restart to the first level is a constant slap in the face. Personally I don't care if my global score goes negative. These are people I will never know, whose flying/combat style will never become a part of the gaming experience.

    Then again, like I said previously, this game wasn't aimed at experienced gamers. It was aimed at the same fluffy crowd that inspired thousands of puzzle games. That's why it's linear.

    I just wish they'd stuck to the arena style instead. I would actually enjoy the game a lot more (given that they provide a calibration and sensitivity adjustment in a future update) if I could CHOOSE where to go next instead of being dragged down a linear path. I can't think of a reason why they wouldn't be able to add this as a mode later on...

  • Aeroflux

    Yup, review pretty much nailed it down. I realize my own ambitions of playing multi-player over 3G became a bias against the game, and I still have fun with it, but the restart to the first level is a constant slap in the face. Personally I don't care if my global score goes negative. These are people I will never know, whose flying/combat style will never become a part of the gaming experience.

    Then again, like I said previously, this game wasn't aimed at experienced gamers. It was aimed at the same fluffy crowd that inspired thousands of puzzle games. That's why it's linear.

    I just wish they'd stuck to the arena style instead. I would actually enjoy the game a lot more (given that they provide a calibration and sensitivity adjustment in a future update) if I could CHOOSE where to go next instead of being dragged down a linear path. I can't think of a reason why they wouldn't be able to add this as a mode later on...

  • Oliver

    I'm something I would call a casual gamer. But looking at all this shit which is flooding the AppStore I begin hating casual games, because they are either one-minute-puzzlers or a rip-off of the same game with more depth and fun.

  • Oliver

    I'm something I would call a casual gamer. But looking at all this shit which is flooding the AppStore I begin hating casual games, because they are either one-minute-puzzlers or a rip-off of the same game with more depth and fun.

  • whooley

    Update now downloading. Says it fixes app stability and sound issues, plus adds an info screen.

    Looks like someone reads this site! :)

  • whooley

    Update now downloading. Says it fixes app stability and sound issues, plus adds an info screen.

    Looks like someone reads this site! :)

  • NotYou

    I think the ship has a new design too.

    I'm still waiting for an update with new game modes. That would really make it great.

  • NotYou

    I think the ship has a new design too.

    I'm still waiting for an update with new game modes. That would really make it great.

  • SalsaMD

    23% smaller package size too: 17.9mb -> 13.7mb.

  • SalsaMD

    23% smaller package size too: 17.9mb -> 13.7mb.

  • whooley

    Is the sound lower quality? Seems a little different, didn't notice anything else.

    Did notice a weird bug where the craft slowed down (the craft, not the game) and the only way to speed it up, ironically, was hit the brakes for a few seconds and it ramped back up to full speed. Needless to say, I didn't pass the level so back to the start of the game..

  • whooley

    Is the sound lower quality? Seems a little different, didn't notice anything else.

    Did notice a weird bug where the craft slowed down (the craft, not the game) and the only way to speed it up, ironically, was hit the brakes for a few seconds and it ramped back up to full speed. Needless to say, I didn't pass the level so back to the start of the game..