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The Isis Adventure from Sonic Games has set the bar quite high for the puzzle game industry. From the same inventor, Andrew Reeves, comes a new interactive electronic puzzle.

The iball3 is a very interesting puzzle game that exercises your memory, at the same time that tests your patience. The object of the puzzle is to turn on the six lights to the same color, before the LED display reaches 0. It almost looks like you're trying to disarm a bomb before the timer runs out... But there's more to it.

The transparent blue-colored ball has six buttons that can show either red, green or blue lights in level one and four colors in level two. Every time you start a game, there's a new light sequence you have to memorize and solve within 90 seconds. Solve the first level in 20 seconds or less and you advance to level two, where you'll have 60 seconds to to get an i-code and be entered in worldwide leader board.

Inside the package comes a very cool stand to display the iball3 and an extra 3-battery pack (the puzzle requires 3 batteries to run). Now that's something you don't see everyday! Most of the times, battery-powered games don't even come with a starting set, let alone a spare one. Perhaps the developers thought ahead of the extreme use the puzzle would have and were nice enough to include a spare set.

When you first turn on the iball3, it could be a while before you start understanding what you're supposed to do. Memorizing the color sequence for six buttons can be quite tricky, so practice until you get the hang of it, and before you know it, you have spent more than an hour without even thinking about putting it down.

For you to have an idea, think about the electronic game "Simon", from the 70's. Even I wasn't born back then, but I'm sure you've heard about it. With Simon, you also had to memorize a sequence and then repeat it, but the iball3 is much more complex than that. There's a strategy involved and it requires a lot of concentration.

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Every time you press a button, assuming you're in level one, you will get one of the three possible colors lighten up. To proceed, press another one of the remaining 5 buttons. If you turn on the same color as the first button, you have now two equal colors lighten up, but if you're wrong, both lights go off and you have to start up again, until you get all six buttons of the same color. 

Do keep in mind that each button has its own color sequence. If you get a green light in one particular button and after that, you get a blue light on the exact same button, doesn't mean that you'll light up a blue light after a green one, on any of the other buttons. It's completely random and the sequence resets if you didn't solve it in time.

After a while, when you're more familiarized with the puzzle, it won't be hard to get to the second level. The hard part is solving level two in time to get the i-code, in order to enter the leader boards (such feat is yet to be accomplished). Now instead of red, green and blue, you'll also have to worry about memorizing a fourth color added to the sequence. The fourth color is actually no more than a combination of both red and blue lights, turned on at the same time on a particular button, giving you a slight purple color.

If you didn't have enough motivation already, to keep trying and solving level two to enter the leader boards, there's a special red Elite iball3 up for grabs, for those who can solve it in under 9 seconds. The Elite iball3 has three levels and five lights. To enter level three you have to solve the second level within 30 seconds - that's half of what you need to get the i-code in a regular iball3.

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Closing Comments:

I only have three electronic games in my collection (iball3 included), and the reason I don't have more is because it gets quite repetitive very quickly once the novelty wears off, so unless it's for collecting purposes, it's hard to come up with many reasons to buy them.

This is different with the iball3, at least for now... The reason for this, is the clever implementation of the leader boards. Even if you're feeling tired of it already, there's always the incentive of keep going and try to beat a certain record.

Overall, the iball3 was a pleasant surprise and very different from what I've seen around. It's extremely addictive once you understand the main goal, but to reach such heights, you'll experience a few moments of frustration, so keep practicing and have patience. You'll get there eventually....

EDIT: Now also available from SeriousPuzzles.com


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