Antonball Deluxe review: Balls out!

by Dillon Sickels
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Antonball Deluxe is a new action-arcade game published by Proponent Games. This is developer Summitsphere’s first title released, and a strong one at that. Antonball Deluxe provides a surprisingly refreshing take on traditional brick-breaking gameplay, mixing it up with platforms gives the game a fast-paced action feel constantly keeping you on your toes.

Antonball Deluxe was designed to simulate the experience of playing in a retro arcade, complete with the old school visuals, simple mechanics, and fantastic music. There are several game modes included as well as some extra features which flavor the game nicely. It’s clear the developers were passionate about this project and it’s nice to see a classic genre turned on its head successfully. 

There are three unique game modes, Antonball, Punchball, and Vs. Antonball. Antonball is the story mode and makes up the bulk of the game while Punchball feels more like a mini-game. In Punchball, players take on the role of Annie and literally throw balls at her enemies before punching them off the screen. It’s a good time. Vs. Antonball is a co-op mode that pits players against each other in competitive ping-pong fashion.

 In addition, players can play online so long as they have a Gamepad. While this is currently in beta-testing and available as only a demo, I couldn’t find any matches with other players. A shame really, I would have loved to chuck giant balls at other 8-bit characters. 

Antonball contains the core game: brick-breaking and platforming. They provide a tutorial level which is short and sweet. It’s recommended to change the controls as the standard layout felt clunky. The game supports controllers as well, a feature that I appreciated. With my Xbox One X controller in hand, I began chucking balls at bricks with immense joy.

Players will spend most of their time in Antonball Deluxe breaking bricks, dodging enemies, and desperately trying to keep the ball from leaving. As the phases move along, the game becomes increasingly difficult. To balance this, players are able to score better power-ups further into the game to help them out. There are 69(aptly chosen) levels and 21 different characters available to unlock throughout the game. Each character is unlocked at random via the lottery and has their own voice lines which make choosing much harder! 

The style of the game is reminiscent of classic arcade titles like the original Donkey Kong and Rainbow Islands: The Story of Bubble Bobble 2. Players are able to choose from two retro filters, both of which are unique, or none at all giving the game a more modern look. Kudos to Summitsphere for bringing their vision to reality. The enemies are all interesting and distinct from one another, as well as each character having their own look and feel. The developers did a great job creating the Antonball Deluxe’s aesthetic. 

Antonball Deluxe

The soundtrack for the game is composed of completely original retro-style music, which is always a feature that I think pays off. There are so many of the same sounds and songs in video games that an original soundtrack helps titles standout. I can’t tell you how many OSTs I have bought after playing a great game. Players also have the ability to unlock songs via the lottery system. Until you do, any attempt to play a locked song will result in the same “you haven’t unlocked this song” song. 

Antonball Deluxe: A ballsy move

Antonball Deluxe is one of the most refreshing and interesting titles I have laid my hands on in awhile. The game feels and looks great, while also providing an authentic arcade experience. There isn’t much more to say – just get your balls ready to bust some bricks.  

Antonball Deluxe is out now on Steam! Check out more of our game reviews here.

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