Niki: Rock & Ball Review
Niki: Rock & Ball box art
System: Wii (WiiWare) Review Rating Legend
Dev: BPlus 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: BPlus 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Jan. 26, 2009 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1-2 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Everyone 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

The other problem is the time limit. Even though it seems fair, the game is not forgiving at all, whether you're playing a beginners' stage or a more challenging one. You better stop bouncing around and beat the stage in about three minutes, or else… the screen will fill up with an orange liquid that makes the task even more arduous than it was originally. Although, I have to admit the fluid actually helped me to beat a stage on a couple of occasions, when the pearls were so up high I just couldn't reach them on my own.

Niki: Rock & Ball screenshot

Unfortunately, the game's visuals are also quite disappointing. Original screenshots of Niki: Roll 'n' Ball piqued my interest when I first saw them online, but once you actually see the game on your TV screen, you'll find the graphics quite lackluster. Not only that, but the typical Wii "jaggies," as annoying as always, are also there to be seen. There's a very low amount of detail, and the level design, though it's apt for this kind of arcade experience, lacks some imagination. It must be because we've seen too many similar games in the past, even if none were controlled with the motion-sensing capabilities of the Wii Remote. The levels are pretty much what you would have found in games like Buster Bros. (Pang), N+, or an old-school pinball. The one thing I did like is the character design, as Niki and the numerous enemies are interesting and original, even if they can't quite compare to those you'd see in a Kirby or a Wario game.

The background music is not remarkable either. It gets repetitive when you repeat levels, and it's a bit too generic for today's standards. In its defense, it does fit the game and makes sense for it to be there, considering the game is sold for just $5.

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One last thing to consider is it's co-op offering. Though both players will share the amount of lives and power-ups, playing together will help to alleviate some of the frustration. What's best, the second player can drop in and out at his/her own leisure, which is fitting for a game like this. The tracking of your high scores (completion time) at the end of each level also adds some play value, as it will motivate you to try to beat your own records.

As you can imagine, this game is not the kind you recommend to your friends. It could have been much more exciting if the controls were just right. However, the low price-point may be good enough to help some casual gamers decide to try out. After all, the game is not terrible. It's just very low-budget and decidedly frustrating in some occasions. If you're up for the challenge, I'd say go ahead and give it a try. Just don't expect a cool arcade game with all the bells and whistles, because this one just comes with the bells. I mean…balls.

By Maria Montoro
CCC Site Director

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
2.6
Graphics
Very lackluster, as far as image quality; there's a low level of detail and the Wii anti-aliasing "jaggies" are present once more. The overall presentation and character design is pleasing though.
2.7
Control
Very lackluster, as far as image quality; there's a low level of detail and the Wii anti-aliasing "jaggies" are present once more. The overall presentation and character design is pleasing though.
2.7
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The background music is too repetitive and even slightly primitive for a game this day and age.
3.0

Play Value
This game has a good amount of levels to offer (40 to be exact), and the gameplay could be very addictive for those with patience. Two-player co-op is nice too.

2.7
Overall Rating - Average
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • Roll along with Niki through fantastic worlds, find all the ZeLeLi pearls, and liberate your village from cuddly as well as evil monsters before it is too late!
  • Timing is everything! Jump in the nick of time to avoid landing amidst barbs and hop about across the stages, thanks to the realistic gaming physics. Snap on the ZeLeLi amulet, transform yourself into Niki Rock, and force even the most obstinate monster to its knees!
  • Explore all the stages and win valuable medals dribbling through them alone or with a friend.
  • Play Niki: Rock & Ball with all the familiar controls in the Retro style or experience the novel controls in the Wii style.


  • Screenshots / Images
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