3D SpinBall ScreenOne of the first graphical video games ever made was Pong.  Two lines and a dot.  It was about as simple as you could get, but fun.  In today's world of powerful processors and advanced graphics hardware, the Pong equation can be taken a little farther.  Evidence of this is 3D SpinBall [App Store] from MegaNudge Entertainment.

3D SpinBall, which started life as Flash game Curveball, is Pong in 3D with a little English thrown into the mix.  The player stares down a rectangular corridor with the opponent's paddle at the far end and his/her own translucent paddle in the foreground.  Using accelerometer or touch controls, the task at hand is to deflect a ball towards the computer opponent and, with the help of a bit of spin, trip it up and score some points.

Bonus points are awarded for successfully adding spin to the ball (with an extra bonus for adding the maximum spin possible) and for accuracy (landing the ball in the middle of the paddle).  After four misses on the part of the opponent, the game moves to the next level.  Pace and the amount of the opponent's spin increase from level to level.

img_0019The games features full Pong-ish game sounds and a techno soundtrack from SCI Recordings as well as full 30 frames-per-second onscreen animation and an online leaderboard.

Back in July of last year we took a look at Vector Pong--now known as 3-D Vector Ball [App Store]--a very similar 3D Pong game from Gyrocade.  While we reviewed an early version of the game, 3-D Vector Ball has come a long way, adding in a touch control option as well as WiFi head-2-head gameplay.  It features a panning view of its overall larger court but, due in part to this, I find it to be a rather more difficult game.  I prefer the gameplay of 3D SpinBall, despite its lack of a head-2-head mode.

I've spent a good bit of time with 3D SpinBall (granted, I was driven to rank #1 and make the attached leaderboard screenshot a bit more impressive, but it was not to be...) and find it highly playable and a solid value at just $0.99.

See our brief gameplay video to get a taste for the game's first few levels.

[ Full HD version | Low Bandwidth version ]

App Store Link: 3D SpinBall, $0.99

  • Big Albie

    Hey Blake, do you have any specifics on why you prefer this over Vector Ball? I have Vector Ball which I like, but something always keeps me from saying it's great. Do you always have a minimum of 3 balls/chances at each level? With Vector Ball, it just carries over what you had in the previous level, while the AI automatically gets reloaded with 3 balls, which never seemed fair to me.

  • Big Albie

    Hey Blake, do you have any specifics on why you prefer this over Vector Ball? I have Vector Ball which I like, but something always keeps me from saying it's great. Do you always have a minimum of 3 balls/chances at each level? With Vector Ball, it just carries over what you had in the previous level, while the AI automatically gets reloaded with 3 balls, which never seemed fair to me.

  • George

    all these pennys add up, but im gonna pass on this one.

  • George

    all these pennys add up, but im gonna pass on this one.

  • http://www.twitter.com/josh_hofer Josh H.

    They run an ad, in the paid version, for their other titles? #fail

  • http://www.twitter.com/josh_hofer Josh H.

    They run an ad, in the paid version, for their other titles? #fail

  • slappy

    I have Vector Ball and its a great game.

  • slappy

    I have Vector Ball and its a great game.

  • larrybeo

    What a waste. Really? TA is going to give space to a game that is *identical* to a game that's been out since the app store itself? That's fail. I like Vector Ball -*that* dev was creative, utilized the accel controls, and made a game worth playing. The only thing notable about this game would be if it were free!

    • DaChief

      larrybeo, you obviously haven't even tried the game. spinball has a tilt mode as well (in fact, my favorite way of playing it) and is a far cry by any comparison to vector ball. i bought vector ball when it first came out and i couldn't get past 3 rounds, plus you couldn't even SPIN the ball (like the original curveball). they got all the pieces togehter (great graphics, sounds) but it wasn't even fun by any measure. and they've had HOW many updates since to correct these problems and they haven't yet??? now, spinball isn't perfect, but it comes pretty close.... it definitely rekindles my fond memories of playing curveball late in the computer labs. it doesn't have the annoying change of viewpoint like vector ball has, and most important, the ball SPINS. and oh yea, it's just plain more fun.

  • larrybeo

    What a waste. Really? TA is going to give space to a game that is *identical* to a game that's been out since the app store itself? That's fail. I like Vector Ball -*that* dev was creative, utilized the accel controls, and made a game worth playing. The only thing notable about this game would be if it were free!

    • DaChief

      larrybeo, you obviously haven't even tried the game. spinball has a tilt mode as well (in fact, my favorite way of playing it) and is a far cry by any comparison to vector ball. i bought vector ball when it first came out and i couldn't get past 3 rounds, plus you couldn't even SPIN the ball (like the original curveball). they got all the pieces togehter (great graphics, sounds) but it wasn't even fun by any measure. and they've had HOW many updates since to correct these problems and they haven't yet??? now, spinball isn't perfect, but it comes pretty close.... it definitely rekindles my fond memories of playing curveball late in the computer labs. it doesn't have the annoying change of viewpoint like vector ball has, and most important, the ball SPINS. and oh yea, it's just plain more fun.

  • littlefish12

    3 words for you naysayers: It's More FUN. Vector ball is so freakin difficult (you can't even hit the corners!) while I can at least rally for a minute in spinball.

  • littlefish12

    3 words for you naysayers: It's More FUN. Vector ball is so freakin difficult (you can't even hit the corners!) while I can at least rally for a minute in spinball.

  • http://www.blakespot.com Blake Patterson

    littlefish12 is correct. SpinBall is a remake of Flash game Curveball, with a focus on the spin aspect. Vector Ball may or may not have been inspired by Curveball - I've seen no indication there.

    I had difficulty with Vector Ball in our July review and felt that it was likely the accelerometer-only controls that were giving me a hard time. But after grabbing the latest release recently for this review, I see I am not much better with the touch controls. It's harder than I am comfortable with, personally.

    I find SpinBall to be much more playable.

  • http://www.blakespot.com Blake Patterson

    littlefish12 is correct. SpinBall is a remake of Flash game Curveball, with a focus on the spin aspect. Vector Ball may or may not have been inspired by Curveball - I've seen no indication there.

    I had difficulty with Vector Ball in our July review and felt that it was likely the accelerometer-only controls that were giving me a hard time. But after grabbing the latest release recently for this review, I see I am not much better with the touch controls. It's harder than I am comfortable with, personally.

    I find SpinBall to be much more playable.

  • Meeser

    This game really is different than Vector Ball. There's no notion of spin in that game. There's something about curving the ball past the opponent that's exhilarating. Plus the music is pretty sick.

  • Meeser

    This game really is different than Vector Ball. There's no notion of spin in that game. There's something about curving the ball past the opponent that's exhilarating. Plus the music is pretty sick.

  • JJdoglegg

    There was a b/w game for mac way back around 87/88 maybe that was a lot like this. I can't remember the name right now but it definitely predated the flash game by a decade. I only remember because it was one of the funnest games for my se/30 at the time.

  • JJdoglegg

    There was a b/w game for mac way back around 87/88 maybe that was a lot like this. I can't remember the name right now but it definitely predated the flash game by a decade. I only remember because it was one of the funnest games for my se/30 at the time.

  • http://www.gamedroid.net gamedroiddotnet

    This game feels like a more polished version of 3D Vector Ball which was the first game of this type for the iPhone platform.

    • TKO

      Funny .. I was thinking 3D Vector Ball seems more polished (stylish graphics, smooth frame-rate) ..but 3D SpinBall possibly has a better 'feel'.

  • http://www.gamedroid.net gamedroiddotnet

    This game feels like a more polished version of 3D Vector Ball which was the first game of this type for the iPhone platform.

    • TKO

      Funny .. I was thinking 3D Vector Ball seems more polished (stylish graphics, smooth frame-rate) ..but 3D SpinBall possibly has a better 'feel'.

  • TKO

    Nice music ..makes for a big download, but I think it's worth it. It definitely has a different feel to 3D Vector Ball. Much more emphasis on spin. But I'm used to the moving background of 3D Vector Ball so I'll have to play a bit more to see if I can get over that.

    It's sure as hell not the same though. Anyone who says so obviously hasn't tried it. The bat has far more ability to spin the ball. (Can't spin on the server though, which I liked to do on the old flash CurveBall.)

  • TKO

    Nice music ..makes for a big download, but I think it's worth it. It definitely has a different feel to 3D Vector Ball. Much more emphasis on spin. But I'm used to the moving background of 3D Vector Ball so I'll have to play a bit more to see if I can get over that.

    It's sure as hell not the same though. Anyone who says so obviously hasn't tried it. The bat has far more ability to spin the ball. (Can't spin on the server though, which I liked to do on the old flash CurveBall.)

  • http://www.gyrocade.com William Powers

    Just a head's up on 3-D Vector Ball:

    Since the initial release, I've learned a little something about the importance of having lots of playtesters. The feedback is unanimous. "Make it less fricking difficult!" With the newest edition, the AI will start off on a slower speed, and won't "spike" at such a sharp angle. There's going to be more volleying back and forth. Also, I'm introducing the option to have a bigger paddle.

    This is the best 3-D Pong out there, and don't let anyone tell you different. Its truly three dimensional, not a flat representation of 3D. The Wifi multiplayer (one of the first in the App Store) was built on top of a UDP layer for speed. Its seen a lot of evolution over the past few months, and will continue to evolve with the feedback. So stay tuned, a new and improved Vector Ball is on the way.

  • http://www.gyrocade.com William Powers

    Just a head's up on 3-D Vector Ball:

    Since the initial release, I've learned a little something about the importance of having lots of playtesters. The feedback is unanimous. "Make it less fricking difficult!" With the newest edition, the AI will start off on a slower speed, and won't "spike" at such a sharp angle. There's going to be more volleying back and forth. Also, I'm introducing the option to have a bigger paddle.

    This is the best 3-D Pong out there, and don't let anyone tell you different. Its truly three dimensional, not a flat representation of 3D. The Wifi multiplayer (one of the first in the App Store) was built on top of a UDP layer for speed. Its seen a lot of evolution over the past few months, and will continue to evolve with the feedback. So stay tuned, a new and improved Vector Ball is on the way.

  • http://www.spongefile.com Tina

    @JJdoglegg Yeah, I remember that b/w game from the late '80s too, the graphics in VectorPong are almost identical to it. Pity that developer isn't getting any credit...

  • http://www.spongefile.com Tina

    @JJdoglegg Yeah, I remember that b/w game from the late '80s too, the graphics in VectorPong are almost identical to it. Pity that developer isn't getting any credit...