The physics game poised to bring down An­gry Birds

The Washington Post Sunday - - TECHNOLOGY & INNOVATION - — Hay­ley Tsukayama

Bub­ble Ball, a physics puz­zle game, caught ev­ery­one’s at­ten­tion last week when it wrenched the top spot on Ap­ple’s free iPhone apps list from per­pet­ual leader An­gry Birds. The most amaz­ing part about the coup? Bub­ble Ball was de­signed by a 14-year-old. The game’s cre­ator, Robert Nay, is an eighth-grader from Span­ish Fork, Utah, who taught him­self pro­gram­ming.

It’s a great back story, but how is the game? With its sparse graph­ics and game­play, Bub­ble Ball leaves out story lines and gim­micks and sim­ply lets you pit your wits against the laws of physics.

Fun, ad­dic­tive and sur­pris­ingly chal­leng­ing, Bub­ble Ball is also free of pro­gram­ming bugs and physics quirks that can plague games in this genre.

The game’s me­chan­ics are easy: Use the pro­vided ma­te­ri­als to get a ball from point A to point B. Wooden pieces are af­fected by grav­ity; metal pieces can float. You can move the pieces any­where you want and tap them to ro­tate. Com­bined with a few spe­cial pieces that can make the ball float, fall, speed up or slow down, play­ers have to nav­i­gate the ball through ob­sta­cles to reach a flag at the end of the level. It sounds easy, but some of the lev­els might get your teeth gnash­ing as you ad­just and read­just your setup.

Play­ers can choose to move through the game se­quen­tially or hop around among lev­els. Al­though the puz­zles aren’t nec­es­sar­ily harder in higher lev­els, they are more com­plex.

Over­all, it’s a great de­but prod­uct for Nay Games, and Nay has said he might in­tro­duce fur­ther lev­els for 99 cents later.

The app is free and avail­able on An­droid, the iPhone and the iPod Touch.

WASHINGTON POST PHOTO IL­LUS­TRA­TION

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