Ink Ball ($0.99) is the sort of puzzle game that seems simple at the outset, but later becomes so difficult that you'll find yourself swearing you'll never play it again. And then you'll play it again, because Ink Ball is a very good, addicting and challenging puzzle app.
The initial reaction to brush off Ink Ball as too simple misses the point. Sure, maneuvering a rush of ink balls into a jar might not sound like the trickiest thing to do, but you're basically creating a Rube Goldberg device to solve every level. OK, it's not quite as complex as all that, but there's more than meets the eye here.
Players get two different styles of planks to lay out for their rolling balls of ink. One plank has no give, so the balls hit it and roll along, while the other plank works like a bounce castle, and the ink balls in Ink Ball go bounding up off of it when they hit the surface.
You can solve puzzles using either plank, and part of the fun of the game comes from figuring out the quickest way to design your bridge to the next level. Oh, and using a blank dries up a bit of your ink reservoir. When that's all gone and you haven't filled up the jar at the end of the level, you lose.
The challenge here is certainly the exciting part, especially because the ink does not pause for any reason. It drips out as if it's heading on an endless conveyer belt as soon as you start your first move. Planning, then, is the name of the game, but maneuvering around the puzzles is tricky, even with all the planning in the world.
Visually, Ink Ball has an ink-stained look like a Ralph Steadman drawing in app form. It's a great look for the game, and the faded green background underneath the ink gives the game a unique look.
If you're seeking a unique and very challenging puzzle game, Ink Ball should fill the bill. After all, you get all the fun of playing with ink without the mess on your hands when you're done.