Thursday, December 03, 2015

3 Super Monkey Ball Alternatives - Open Sphere Rolling Games

Marbles have fascinated the population of the blue marble for centuries. Today, we take a look at three digital variants that are open source and playable cross-platform.


The newest addition to the group of open source ball-rolling games is minimal and was made using the Godot engine.

Rock and jazz music accompanies your through the only two levels so far. None of them are super hard, making Veraball the most beginner-friendly game of the bunch.

Windows (both portable and installer) and Linux releases are available but since Godot Engine runs on Mac OS X, you can play it on that platform as well using the source.


A magical engine powers the blue sphere from the inside, allowing it to roll and jump without reasonable explanation. Its goal is to touch other glass balls filled with yellow light by balancing towards them.

You steer the blue sphere. But to what end? Deliver the coup de grâce to failed experiments? Free trapped spirits? Harvest sleeping souls to grow in power? Is it a grim prognosis about the effects of future commercialized space travel and interplanetary colonization?

Welcome to irrlamb. The atmosphere is mostly dark and dungeon-like, sometimes abstract, always at least a bit magical. The two skater parks feel clinically sanitized (no graffiti).

There are around 20 levels starting from beginner-friendly to absolutely insane.

There have been two releases this year (0.2 and 0.2.1). Most of the changes were usability improvements and bugfixes, although some levels have been added as well.

irrlamb 0.2.1 is available for Linux and Windows. Windows users have to manually install OpenAL.

For creating own levels, there is an export script available for Blender.


Neverball has been around for a while. There are easy levels, there are hard levels, there are levels that were apparently made to challenge the game's developers.

Many levels take place in space, on grass squares floating under the sky, above the sea or above a city at night. Of our three games, this one is least suitable for those with acrophobia.

There is a lot of content (326 maps minus Neverputt levels) and only a small part of it is accessibly due to my lack of balancing skills. So I present to you the most and least favorite aspects of Neverball, as seen by a player with newbie skills:

Best: 1. The oh so many levels! 2. Different ball models available, some have character (by containing characters), making it easier to have some kind of emotional connection to the game. No animated cute animals though unfortunately.

Worst: 1. The old looking non-baked textures of the basic levels 2. The camera (does not allow you to zoom, moves in disturbing ways) and consequently the controls.


"If only projects X, Y and Z could join forces instead of trying to re-invent the wheel!" - what an annoying thing to say, don't you think? I hope you got the chance to play irrlamb, Neverball and Veraball - and if not I hope this review brought you closer to them - so that you can appreciate the different feels to the gameplay and scenery.

All I really want now are video tutorials for creating new levels...

Are there any open source games with similar mechanics that I missed? Are there proprietary games that developers should consider taking inspiration from other than Super Monkey Ball? Please let us know in the comments!