SteamBalls HD for iPad - app review

SteamBalls HD is a match-3 puzzle game for the iPad. It's fun, challenging, unique, and beautifully designed.

The goal of SteamBalls HD is to get a horizontal match of 3 balls of the same color, but it's more difficult than it sounds. At the bottom of the game board there are 4 scales and each ball is assigned a weight. The side of a scale that is heaviest will drop to the bottom; if the weights are equal, then the arms of the scale will be level. Underneath each arm, the current weight is displayed to save you from doing the addition in your head. As you progress through the game, new colors are introduced making it more difficult to get a match. The game ends when any column of balls reaches the top of the board.

When a match is made, any balls of the same color that are touching that match are evaporated from the board and points are earned (total weight value multiplied by the number of balls). If you stack up 5 balls of the same color (vertically) then they collapse into a single ball with the weight value of the 5 balls combined. In addition to the colored balls, SteamBalls also has 12 other "extra" balls. Each of these balls have a different purpose such a changing the colors of balls or destroying certain balls or increasing the value of matches. This adds an interesting angle to the game.

SteamBalls HD is not only fun to play, but it's beautifully designed. The game has a nice wood background and the game itself has gears spinning very smoothly in the background. The balls are designed to look like pool balls and they sound like pool balls when they make contact with each other. SteamBalls was not quickly thrown together; it is clear that a lot of thought went into it's design.

Because of the progressive nature of the SteamBalls, each game can be quite long. I would like to see the option of starting at a specific level in order to have shorter games. It would also be nice if there was a time trial mode for those times when you only have a few minutes to play. However, if you quit in the middle of a game, SteamBalls saves it for you so you can easily pick up where you left off.

If you like match-3 games, SteamBalls HD will not disappoint.


  • Challenging and fun
  • Unique take on a match-3 game
  • Beautiful graphics


  • Games are pretty long.
  • No option to start at a more difficult level
  • No time trial mode

[$3.99 - iTunes link]

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Leanna Lofte

Former app and photography editor at iMore, Leanna has since moved on to other endeavors. Mother, wife, mathamagician, even though she no longer writes for iMore you can still follow her on Twitter @llofte.