Justice Playthrough #55: BasketBelle

A surreal, beautiful puzzle platformer. Based on basketball.

Page 22, Game 10: BasketBelle by onemrbean

You’re a young fella living in Paris. You love playing basketball with your dad — and your little sister, Belle. One day, when you’re retrieving an errant shot, little Belle wanders off. Naturally, you go after her … but ominously, you keep running into strange, shadowy monsters.

Better find her soon.

Though a quick game with this blobby fella should be fine

Actual gameplay quickly turns into a series of platformer puzzles where the goal is to put the ball in the hoop. Purely from a gameplay perspective, it’s … fine. Played better, played worse. It doesn’t always do a good job of laying out its fundamental mechanics. For instance, your movement is severely restricted when you have a ball in your hands; if you jump, you HAVE to shoot the ball, which seems like a weird choice for a jumping game. I wasted a lot of time trying to figure out how to keep a hold of the goddamn thing after I landed so I could jump up somewhere and put myself in a position to get it in the basket.

Some puzzles rely on you shooting the ball from a particular spot or trying the same thing that didn’t work several times in a row. Solving those levels never felt satisfying; I didn’t feel clever, I felt lucky. I felt like I’d accidentally stumbled into the solution just by pure flailling.

And yet.

This game just feels complete, in a way that a lot of the games I’ve tried simply don’t. It feels and sounds warm and whimsical. The intro where your father teaches you the basic moves had me hooked, and just playing around with my little sister gave me a stake in the story.

It just works, dammit.

It took me a half hour or so to play the story to completion, and that felt about right. Even if I got a tad annoyed here and there, BasketBelle never wore out its welcome.

And that swoosh payoff at the end of each level when I finally made it past the monster (or monster’s digestive tract) to bang home that shot satisfied me from the beginning of the game to the end.

If BasketBelle sounds at all interesting to you, I can definitely recommend giving it a look.

Code, code, in my machine
What is the next game we shall see?

Page 22, Game 18: A Mother’s Love by Jake Bhattacharyya

“A solo journaling game about humanity, sacrifice, and artificial intelligence.”

Ah, another game where I’m probably going to be willing to look but not actually play. Some of those have looked pretty cool.