Clusterball Review

Clusterball was originally released in 2000 as a multi-player combat-racing game. In it, you drove ships around, collecting balls and racing to fly them through hoops for points. You could collect powerups and use them on your opponents to hinder them. Whether they would reverse their controls, knocks away some of their balls, or other dastardly deeds, there was always something to watch out for.

This game has been re-created for the iphone, however as a single player game. You now must race against time to get to the finish line, collecting balls and depositing them through hoops for points along the way. The powerups once used against opponents are now mines throughout the course looking to hinder you.

clusterball 1

The gameplay in Clusterball is fairly straightforward, however the controls are a bit tedious.  It is accelerometer based, and there is no sensitivity option in the settings. Aside from tilting the device, the only other controls you have to keep track of are your brakes, which are the two red buttons on the sides of the screen.  The ship is pretty easy to move around, however it feels as if you are constantly in a drift. Using the breaks helps this, but it also cuts your speed dramatically. Personally, I found that the biggest use of the brakes was not for maneuvering, but for stalling and waiting for the time bonus’ to change to a higher value (they alternate between +1, 2, 3, and 5 seconds.) there are two ways to fail the level: either run out of time, or hit too much stuff, destroying your ship.

I actually really like the sound in this game. Background music almost has a Blue Man Group feel to it, uses a lot of Flanger distortion on the guitars, and a bunch of percussion. At the start of the levels, they brought back the “Play ball!” that the announcer said in the original game, which I thought was cool.  Unfortunately, at loudest, the sound effects are still pretty faint.

Clusterball 2

Graphics are very nice. The scenery you fly by is detailed, and the water is awesome. I think they could have had a bit further of a draw distance, or at least have had a setting for it, as right now it’s like the islands just appear out of thin air. There are three races in each locale, and three locales before the final stage.  There is no way to do a quick play on one of the tracks, so if you want to learn how to get around the later tracks, you must progress in-game to them, and hope you don’t run out of time trying a new route.

Presentation & Graphics
Game is beautiful, however still very buggy.


Background music is great, but sound effects are very quiet, even with their volume at max

Simple to learn, however because the ship is constantly sliding around when trying to turn, and incapable of making sharp turns, you must constantly use the brakes to stay on the tracks.


Single player only, and to play the later tracks you must beat earlier tracks each time. It gets old fast.

Game Rating


A decent time trial racing game, but needs some fine tuning and more features.

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  • Nathan Mustafa, USA

    w00t I am not the noob anymore