Bang-On Balls: Chronicles review

by on October 16, 2023

I can’t help but smile the moment a 3D platformer lands on my lap. No other genre of video game fills me with the joy that a good old fashioned platforming collectathon does, I imagine thanks to a healthy upbringing of Mario, Banjo-Kazooie and other delightful 3D platformers. Whether you’re someone who loves mastering tricky jumping challenges or just want to explore colourful worlds and gather bits and bobs, there have been plenty of joyful platformers that have released in recent years to satiate those needs. Bang-On Balls: Chronicles is another game to add to that list now.

Set at a movie studio, Bang-On Balls features four massive worlds that are each based on a different fictional flick. In each of the worlds you need to find and beat the evil ball in charge of things, Bob Boss, kicking him out of the place and sending him into another movie to cause issues. The story isn’t really important, but it gives you something to do while you’re exploring a world full of Vikings.

A screenshot of Bang-On Balls: Chronicles

Although your custom made character in Bang-On Balls is, like everyone else, a ball, they control like a fairly standard platforming protagonist. You can jump, double jump, and do a big charging dash through the air to get to anywhere you need to go, and the controls feel tight and reliable. Outside of your basic movement abilities you can also hold down the right trigger to act more like a ball if you want to use your momentum to your advantage to roll down a hill at top speed. Getting around the world feels great thanks to this selection of simple moves, so you’re free to focus on the important part of the game: exploring.

Every world of Bang-On Balls: Chronicles is packed full of film reels, caged balls to rescue, and new cosmetics to find, and you’ll need to search high and low to collect them. The worlds are so incredibly dense, with multiple layers to explore and secret passages to find, each with something rewarding to add to your collection. First you’ll spot a hole that leads to a cave full of collectible ore which you can mine if you’ve found a pick, then suddenly you’ll have a whole series of underground caverns to explore. Then there are buildings with fully explorable rooms and vents that lead you into the locked ones, and one stage even features a whole ocean to explore. If you’re the sort of person who likes turning over every stone searching for shiny goodies in a selection of colourful worlds then this is the game for you.

The themes of the different stages are fantastic too. You start in a world based on Vikings and the British fighting, complete with long ships, knights, and castles. Then the second stage changes the game entirely, and is based on the space race to the moon. You’ll need to help one of the countries fuel and prepare a rocket before shooting to the moon and having a new rocky area to explore. It’s such a cool idea for a level, and despite being based in buildings instead of the open plains of England still includes so much to collect.

A screenshot of Bang-On Balls: Chronicles

After the creativity of the space level I was concerned the next level would disappoint, but Bang-On Balls was prepared with another, even more creative world to explore. The third world is pirate themed, and features a cool log boat to ride around and a full ocean to navigate. For the first time the game gives you a map to ensure you know where on the waves you’re currently at, and tasks you with beating up four bosses to find the ancient coins that’ll help you unleash the Kraken. It was my favourite stage in the game, and I spent over five hours scouring every island and patch of ocean for collectibles.

For a 3D platformer there’s a whole lot of combat in Bang-On Balls, but thankfully it’s fairly straightforward. By either charging into an enemy or ground pounding on their head you’ll deal damage to a spherical foe, and if you do this enough times they’ll be done for. You can also equip weapons and shields that offer a few extra options in combat (like a shotgun with a short cooldown you can use between charges) but honestly the combat is so simple that you don’t really need to worry about it, especially because your health regenerates if it gets too low. Compared to exploring the world fighting balls is just okay, but it’s worth it to collect their cosmetics after you batter them.

At the start of the game the only way you can customise your ball is by colouring it with one of various flags (which obviously meant I was sporting some delightful progress pride flag body paint). After finding a few parts though I was wearing cool star shaped sunglasses and wearing a crown worth of my royal presence. The amount of cosmetics you can find on your adventure is truly wild, and some of them even provide you with cool special abilities too.

A screenshot of Bang-On Balls: Chronicles

Bang-On Balls is a truly joyous experience, but it is just a little lacking in challenge, and is slightly repetitive. You never really need to worry about the platforming itself because there’s not a whole lot that can go wrong if you fail at a jump, and while that might appeal to some I would’ve just liked a little more challenge while exploring. The combat is the main culprit of the repetitiveness, and when you’re presented with multiple boss fights in a row to deal with that can all be dealt with the same way it starts to feel like a bit of a chore.

Bang-On Balls: Chronicles is a charming 3D platformer that took me back to my childhood, with four dense and creative worlds to explore. Fans of collecting shiny doodads will have a whale of a time checking every nook and cranny, and with a whole lot of cool cosmetics to experiment with it feels worth the hunt. The combat is a little flat, but it can’t stop this wonderful rolling adventure from careering down the hill to funtown.


Wonderful worlds to explore
Some really creative levels
Loads of cosmetics to collect and wear
The worlds are so dense


Combat is a little flat
Not enough platforming challenge for me

Editor Rating
Our Score


In Short

Bang-On Balls: Chronicles is a wonderful 3d platformer, with dense and creative worlds to explore and loads of cosmetics to try on.