REVIEW: Impossiball

Two paddles, one ball1. The most simple formula in gaming. A lot of indie developers that are just starting out probably start out with that very formula. It’s easy, but nowhere near ‘unique’. No matter what name you give your version, Pong is still Pong. You can add your own style of paddle, design the strangest ‘ball’ you want, Pong is still Pong. It’s a classic, yes, perhaps even the classic; the game that moved the goalposts forward and got us to where we are today. Yet, any way you want to slice it, Dark Duo‘s Impossiball ($1.00) is still Pong.

Well, Pong with ‘500 balls onscreen at once’ Pong, that is. Why so many balls? Because they can. Because we have the technology. Because subtlety is overrated. Impossiball‘s setup is nothing new; bare backgrounds, one paddle on each side of the screen (two can play locally, or there’s always the very clever AI), moving vertically, with you defending your end of the zone. Your paddle can also be angled, giving you some control over the ricochet, and how you’ll attack and / or defend. Again, nothing that hasn’t been seen before. Then there’s that whole ‘500 balls’ thing to start off each round.

As in Golf, your first swing makes all the difference, and determines how that particular round is going to end up. Ditto for Impossiball. The more balls you keep in play initially, the more pressure you put on your opponent to return that volley. Despite your best efforts, you’re going to miss quite a bit2, but that number naturally decreases as the match goes on, until you’ve whittled it down to a manageable amount. From there, standard rules apply.

Impossiball - Screen

There are a total of six powerups you can scoop up, too, that can help tilt the odds in your favor, albeit temporarily. These include the typical ‘lengthen your paddle’3, slow down / speed up tricks, and, for maximum frustration (especially at the beginning of a round), inverted controls. Depending on your chosen score limit / skill, games can last five minutes or twenty minutes.

Still, Pong is still Pong, and once the novelty of the 500-ball opening volley wears off, you’re left with the same formula that’s been done to death. Impossiball can absolutely be entertaining if you’ve got a friend nearby, but solo, you won’t get much mileage out of it.


  1. I’m talking about the game, not some obscure sexual fetish. Get your mind out of the gutter. 
  2. The best strategy I found was to start your paddle in the middle, then slide up at an angle as the balls drift in. You’ll still miss half, but you’ll also send a couple hundred balls straight at your opponent’s face! …Don’t even think it. Get your mind out of the gutter. 
  3. Seriously, I’m talking about the game, not slang for something else. Get. Your. Mind. …out of the gutter. 

39 thoughts on “REVIEW: Impossiball”

    1. Hard, you say? Hard mode? Pssh, some of us are still trying to beat it on Medium. With the powerups off, yes. 🙂

      Truth be told, I tried it the last time, to give myself a break from the horrors of Medium. I led the AI on Hard for approximately one round. One round. After that, it went straight downhill. I had an angry face.

    1. I keep getting my ass kicked. I get so frustrated with how many balls are on the screen and the damn power ups. I think I need to try to turn them off like you did.

    2. @Dream Poet: Turning off the powerups does help, I can confirm, but it’s no miracle solution. :/

      @Dark Duo Games & Soosh: Oooohhhh, burn! Yeah, Soosh, how are things going on Hard mode, eh? Eh? And to answer your question on whether I’ve beaten the AI on Normal, well….


      …. well…


      …. Oh look, a flying monkey!

      (throws smoke bomb on the floor and disappears)

    3. Now if you had said “A three headed monkey” then I would have been more impressed. As it is, I’m only slightly impressed with your misdirection and Batman-like exit.

    4. @Dark Duo Games: Erm… well… hmpf… not so good, I suppose. Feels like Hard is more like Mission Impossible.

      @Tim: Oh look, a flying monkey! (throws smoke bomb on the floor and disappears)
      Are you recycling my old jokes? o_O

    1. Pat myself on the shoulder for beating the AI on medium? I’ve already done that. 🙂 Wait, hold on a sec… or do you mean I should play the AI on… on hard? 😳 [gulp]

    2. @Soosh: Yes, yes (laughs deviously). Make him play it on Hard. Make him suffer! 👿

      @Dream Poet: Looks like we’ve got a ‘visual artist’ on our hands! When does your gallery open up? 😀

  1. Those footnotes had me cracking up. You could say that I was “bowled over” by them and that my mind is now in the “gutter”… the BOWLING GUTTER…. Ahahahahahahaha! Nailed it.

    1. Ha! This review naturally lent itself to ‘gutter’ humor. Everyone was trying to ‘pin’ the dirty stuff on me, but I was ‘frame’-d, I tell you. Ah, what can you do? Now I’m off, to ‘strike’ out on my own, to eat a ‘bowl’ of cereal. Maybe for lunch, I’ll have a ‘turkey’ sandwich. You want this one? It’s cool, I’ve always got a ‘spare’. 😮

    1. AWESOME. That is very generous of you. I won’t be shy and I’ll send you an email but it was really just a chance to give Tim a hard time. Thanks Tim for the link as well. You are to kind. Now I’ll need to work harder at finding things to give you a hard time about.

  2. Like Pong? Like Pong with more balls than you can possibly handle? Then Impossiball is for you! I’ve got TWO codes to give away, thanks to the fine, upstanding Gents at Dark Duo Games. Simple reply to this comment, and one of the codes is yours.

    1. Got the code and already lost the first match against the AI on Normal. 😀 Thanks Tim, and thank you Dark Duo Games. 🙂

    2. That AI1 is a real cheapskate; takes all the powerups, and refuses, outright refuses, to let anyone win. Took me six or seven matches just to make it ‘close’, and I still lost. 😡

      1. Artificial Intelligence, not some guy named Al. 
  3. This could be interesting if you had a leaderboard and matches and/or tournaments on Live. Still actually looks more interesting than I thought. Maybe it’s your great writing that is giving it that appeal.

    1. Oh, wow, somebody’s buttering me up! 🙂 Great writing, you say? Nah, but go on. Tell me how great I am. 😀

      Kidding aside, it was fun for a few games. The AI on Medium is quite the challenge, and constantly trying to stop multiple balls from slipping past is a frantic sort of insanity. That limited fun wore off, though. Not bad, just not very unique or long-lasting.

    2. Sneaky….post game review….get compliment 30 mins later…..offer codes 30 mins after that. Hmmmmmm????? LOL

      It’s ok….Another morning I happened to be up early. I wouldn’t have got in on this code since I could only play with myself. (GET your minds outa the gutters) This is the type of game that would be better to have someone else to play with. (OK man did you start something with the dirty mind things)

    3. I can explain! You see, I… I…, well, I can’t really explain that one. I totally planned on posting the review later in the morning, but tired-the-night-before Tim accidentally scheduled it early, and when I woke up and saw it posted, I did one of those ‘facepalm’ deals and said, ‘Screw it, let’s just hand off the codes now and be done with it so I can play Destiny!’ 🙂 I’m not proud of myself.

      Actually, you do have some incentive to play with yourself (…get your mind out of the gutter), as you can see if you can best the AI on medium difficulty. I wasn’t able to do it, and neither was Soosh, it sounds like. You could be the hero that Impossiball needs!

    4. (…) if you can best the AI on medium difficulty. I wasn’t able to do it, and neither was Soosh, it sounds like.

      No, but I’ll try again now, this time without power-ups. I’ll probably still lose, but let’s see how the AI can handle that.

    5. Ha, in your face AI (yeah, I know, ‘get your mind out of the gutter‘). Just beat it on medium without power-ups. Final score: 3000 – 2999. No joke, I’m serious. Haven’t had a chance to take a picture, the final score disappeared after a couple of seconds. You have to take my word for it.

    6. Oh, how very convenient. You win a game by one solitary point, perhaps the greatest, most improbable score possible, and you somehow forget to snap a photo of this great achievement?….

      Kidding aside, I actually never even considered turning off powerups to see if I could beat the bastard that way. So I tried it for a few rounds last night… and… still lost. The score was pretty much the same too. Came within 100 points, but that just makes it worse. 😦

    7. Oh, I see, someone’s been jealous because he couldn’t beat the AI on medium. And how am I supposed to get my phone out, go to ‘Camera mode’ and shoot a picture within two seconds. So what do you want me to do? Install some CCTV next to my telly? (and yes, I do realise you were just joking).

      Anyhow, Tim can’t beat the AI on Medium… la la la 😛

    1. No problem, guys. 🙂 It’s a first game, like you said, and mechanically, it’s sound. The idea is nice, just well-tread. I think I would’ve gotten a lot more enjoyment out of it had I had someone in human form to play against. It’s clearly built for that, but kudos to you guys on the well-balanced AI. It’s no pushover.

The Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s