By: Terry

On: October 5th, 2007


launchball2Launchball is an educational game designed to teach kids about physics, and is part of an interactive gallery called “”">Launchpad" at the London Science Museum. Essentially, it plays like The Incredible Machine, only using realistic lab apparatus instead of toasters and fishbowls and so on. Whenever you complete a level, you’re given a nifty bit of science trivia as a reward (like that very random bit about Newton to the side). Once you’ve completed them all, you can move on to creating your own!

It’s excellent! The graphical and musical style is minimal and elegant (and I might add, gorgeous), the interface is juicy and responsive, the puzzles are engaging – the whole thing just feels slick and professional to the last detail. Digg’s rather taken with it too: they managed to crash the Science Museum website last week (though they tend to do that quite a bit, I hear), and more that one person over there has described it as better than Halo 3 (for whatever that’s worth). Well worth checking out!

[Source: Digg]

  • Melly

    From what I hear, it seems half the B-Game entries are more entertaining than Halo 3’s single player campaign. So I don’t see that as a huge challenge.

  • Gr.Viper

    Arrrr… I wish I could play it off-line. Amazing style and TIM (not Tim!) feel.

  • MisterX

    Neat game, but just too easy apart from 2-3 frustrating levels with very unclear solutions, for example when you have to place 3 mirrors to get a beam somewhere.

    A similiar game I like that much more is Click Drag Type 3:
    It has absolutely no instructions, it’s all about you figuring out how to solve a puzzle and there’s a whole variety of totally different ones :) Recommended!

    And of course Armor Cube ( is another great mind-boggling time waster :)

  • Terry

    Wow, Click Drag Type 3 is pretty mental, thanks for the link :)

  • moi

    I didn’t know isaac newton had invented the cuntflap

  • Paulie Mindless

    Holy pieces of cow, “Light Fantastic” level was *hard*.

  • DaKaR

    i cant complete the VOLCANO level on the 1st set of levels….help plz?
    love the game btw challenging

  • Terry

    For Volcano: The trick there is that you can complete a circuit on the diagonal of a piece. You should be able to build a ramp all the way to the top.

    I gave up on Light Fantastic last time :) I’ll come back to it later though…

  • BenH

    I could have sworn I invented the cat flap. Shows what they know!

  • o

    DaKaR: There’s a bug on the Volcano level where you sometimes don’t get all the pieces you need to build the ramp, so if it seems impossible try to give up and load it again.

  • Karzon

    I had the same problem with the volcano level. One block even stopped working correctly, and couldn’t be moved either! And one bug in every level: If you hold your mouse button down while moving a block from the bar at the bottom, then move it over the same item again again before you let go to place the item, you’d “lose” an item of that type each time the mouse cursor moves over it. Fun game besides the problems.

  • Lim-Dul

    Finished the the official levels… Light fantastic wasn’t so hard for me – I got stuck pretty bad on, believe it or not, Mirror, Mirror (until I realized that you really had LOTS of mirrors at your disposal *hint, hint* =). I had the error with the unmoving block as well but since you can click on exit and go back to the given level it wasn’t too frustrating for me.

    I think the “Sneaky” levels are in fact harder than the “Crafty” ones since in the former you usually have to find the one “perfect” solution and in the latter you can be very creative in some places. I think I solved some of the levels in a completely “wrong way”, if you can call it the “wrong way” since the ball reached the exit after all. =)

  • machrider

    This is a good game and all but it feels like a watered down version of The Incredible Machine. You’re limited to only making puzzles that involve a ball, while in TIM you could make puzzles where you have to reflect a beam of light into a magnifying glass to trigger an explosive which then kills a cat or something (or whatever else you can think of). As for realistic apparatuses, nothing is more realistic than using household items. Maybe if things were represented with more than just a square tile, you could say that this is more realistic.

  • machrider

    But the game itself is pretty good, although it does tend to glitch a lot. Also since it relies so heavily on the ball as the only level goal, it makes it sort of easy to trick the game into letting you get through by finding other ways to get the ball to the exit.

  • DaKaR

    i did build the ramp all the up to the top, but the ball barely makes it over the mouth of hte volcano. then it just fails to get over and rolls into the pit where the turbine is…is it just me?
    and light fantastic is very fun ahahha by that i mean hard

  • Kenzya

    That’s weird. I figured I would get stuck in a few puzzles and stop playing. I just played through the whole thing. I didn’t get stuck on anything and the puzzles were pretty easy.

    I think besides the last couple of levels, the solutions to the levels were pretty obvious. You always knew what you had to do (for example, on the volcano you know you have to ramp the ball over the volcano) you just had to figure out where the game wanted you to put the pieces.

    My only complaint would be that the gameplay itself is too rigid. If you set something up, it’ll act out the exact same way every time.

    I don’t know. Who cares. I had a lot of fun with this game because it was a TIM style game that I could actually just breeze through.

  • Jayjayjuhwetplane

    I agree with Kenzya.

  • gustav

    great game, but way too easy..

  • Lim-Dul

    DaKaR – major spoiler:

    You have to start with the conveyor belts – just ONE field under the ball and then build some stairs. When you use ALL the pieces the ball will have enough momentum to jump over the volcano.

  • Advenith

    Just finished the thing. Absolutely wonderful. I’d pay for a longer DS version of this.

  • Andrew

    Anybody want to help out with the check out level? I’ve been stuck on it for too long and it’s quite annoying.

  • machrider

    Anyone who liked this game should check out the Incredible Machine series. It’s a lot like this game except with a whole variety of different missions other than just get the ball to the exit.