Stephen   Cheshire, United Kingdom (Great Britain)
I've been gaming since the early 80's & if you count arcade machines since the late 70's & I loved to play tabletop RPG's like Tunnels & Trolls (still got my rule book) Dungeons & Dragons. My 1st computer based RPG's included Darkland and The Elder Scrolls: Arena, both of which enthralled me.

The mid 2000's saw a car travelling in excess of 60 mph hit me from behind while I was cycling to work & left me with 4 broken vertebrae & a serious head injury. I landed on my coccyx & instantly lost almost 4'' in height because the spine was crushed vertically on impact with the road & due to the head injury/brain damage, I no longer produce 3 essential hormones. I was sent home with no treatment because they totally missed the breaks & refused to scan my head; consequently, I'm now seriously disabled & have to take opiate based medication (Fentanyl and Oxycodone) & inject myself daily with hormones. It took a year for the breaks to be diagnosed and 7 years for the brain damage to be confirmed. :trolol: Thankfully gaming saved my sanity. I found that playing games really helped with my pain management & kept my mind active.

Some community members call me a game collector, but I'm not; I buy games both to play & enjoy as well as to help with my pain management. I'm presently {since mid 2017} on a sabbatical from buying games apart from certain games that I can afford from what is left in my Steam wallet, most of which comes from selling games from my inventory,as well as trading cards & Steam wallet presents from my two adult kids. Also, I :spirallove: gaming. My favourite genres include 'in no particular order' RPG's, RTS, FPS, Shmups, Breakouts, Wacky & Psychedelic Indie games, Survival games, Simulation & Tower Defence games. To be honest, I enjoy most genres apart from time management games, but what I play usually depends on my mood, whether a friend is available for coop gaming, or what I've just purchased.

Some of my all time favourite games include Darkland, the Elder Scrolls franchise, Civilisation, Baldurs Gate, Geometry Wars, Raptor, Myst & Riven, R Type, Space Invaders, Ikaruga, Cossack's: The Art of War, The Total War franchise, The Longest Journey, Under A Steel Sky, Aky's XP Breakout, Ricochet Infinity, Incrediball: The Seven Sapphires, Gish, Dune, Command & Conquer, Battlefield Vietnam, Battlefield 2, Conflict Vietnam, Vietcong, Strange Brigade, Men of Valor, Men of Honor: Pacific Assault, Icewind Dale, Far Cry franchise, Line of Sight: Vietnam, ArmA II & 3, Roller Coaster Tycoon, Red Faction Guerrilla, Conan Exiles & when I'm in the mood for some fast paced game play I'll boot up one of my favourite racing games such as most of the Dirt franchise or the Flatout games including their latest offering Wreckfest (though it saddens me to see they are adopting the expensive DLC route).

Other games I've recently got into and highly recommend are the single player/cooperative games Generation Zero, Second Extinction & TheHunter: Call of the Wild, {all from the same distributor Avalanche games, of the Just Cause franchise fame), All 3 games are open world & have either survival or hunting elements included. Also, despite pre ordering Dying Light, it's almost ten years later that I've finally got around to playing the game and think it's the best open world zombie game I've ever played.

Since the summer of 2021 it's the first time in ages that I've been excited to play games on a daily basis that give me a buzz; and, the above three from Avalanche Studios and the one from Techland have replaced one of my all time favourite games The Elder Scrolls Online, which I'd been playing virtually every day since the βeta back in 2013 (apart from when I went on vacation) until February 2021; racking up well over ten thousand hours of game play. I've not booted it up since.

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13.8 Hours played
I originally purchased this game when it was available via Alawar around 17 years ago, and have purchased it a second time when its expansions were added to the game, with a name change to Action Ball Deluxe. When the developer released his sequel Action Ball 2, that was originally released a few years after this game, then a few years ago here on Steam, he offered to release this game on steam as well if he got 100 likes. That didn't happen, but I'm so pleased to see that he did finally release it on Steam.

It's still one of my favourite 3D breakouts because it's more difficult to beat that most other 3D breakouts, apart from maybe Caromble and Incrediball: The Seven Sapphires. It's not particularly difficult if you know what each of the power ups do and the various antics the robots perform. When I played this version I noted that there were at least a couple of changes that I don't recall being in the original release, for example there's a Kamikaze robot, that dive bombs your bat in all levels (you can tell when it's about to dive bomb if you keep an eye on the animation), whereas in the original game you only saw these in the boss levels (I may be wrong about this; so, will have to reinstall my original to confirm this) and another robot that has been added changes your ball to something negative, and another robot when destroyed sends a homing rocket to destroy other robots if present in the arena, otherwise all the other robots remain the same as in the original. It's useful to destroy all or most of the robots because for every 15 you destroy; you get an extra life.

Judging by the changes made to the original, you'll need them initially; especially if Breakouts are not your usual fare. Thankfully, for beginners, there are three different difficulty modes. Until I got used to the new additions, I lost all my lives twice (playing on medium difficulty) before even finishing the second level (which is unusual for me as I've played the original for hundreds of hours over the years, I've had it). It took me almost 40 minutes of game play to get into the swing of things and survive past the first boss robot, that appears at level 5. In the original, which I only played a few months ago, I was always able to progress far into the game without losing many lives, and usually accumulated tens of lives though destroying robots and picking up the occasional life power up.

Some of the things I really like about this game apart from its reasonable difficulty (at least compared to most other 3D breakouts) is the colourful graphic, and the way the bricks melt away when you hit them. That said I do have a few minor gripes, for example there's a lack of really acute rebound angles from the bat, that both Action Ball and Action Ball 2 suffer from (though Action Ball 2 is compensated slightly because of its odd shaped arena's). Unfortunately, this does take away some of the ability to control the ball with your bat as effectively as in some other breakouts that I have; e.g. Ricochet Infinity (that was sadly removed from Steam several years ago). That said, the lack of acute angle shots and even curved shots (created by slicing the ball as it hits the ship/bat in some breakouts) is only a minor gripe and takes nothing away from the actual game play. Generally, the ball physics are good.

The games level map is packaged into level sets; each set containing 10 levels; if you lose all of your lives in the first level set before you complete the set, when you restart, you'll have to start from the beginning of that level set. However, once past the first level set, progress is saved to the end of each level set; for example, if you lose all your lives in the third set, you don't have to restart from the first level set. However, if you decide to skip the unlocked level sets and start a new game from the level set you left, you're likely to score fewer points to go on the high score table.

This restart mechanic from the beginning of a level set is only significant if you lose all your lives before ending the level set. You can always replay previous level sets once unlocked at any time, but as yet I'm not sure if they overwrite your save file and negate progress you've previously made (I'll be checking this once I've completed every level in the original set of 100 levels and will update if necessary).

Each level set ends with a boss battle, apart from the first set that also has a single boss robot at level five.

The game has several different brick types; some dissolve on first hit, others take multiple hits, some explode on contact and others transport your ball to a different spot on the arena, or cause the ball to veer off in a different direction; others send bombs down to destroy your ship (you can see the bombs inside the brick, so you do have some warning with these). There are also lots of different power ups (28 in total), that are a mix of positive and negative types; for example a triple ball (if you get multiple triple ball power ups, every ball on the arena will multiply, not just the last ball in play (like some breakouts); there's also a rocket launcher, terminator, enlarge pad, rail ball, neutralise, machine gun, etc; some remain until lost, others are timed, or in the case of weapons, limited by the amount of ammunition they carry. Picking up two of the same power ups before the first is used, (which always occurs in the boss battles, where you get lots of homing missile and machine gun power ups) are, unfortunately, not cumulative. Sadly, power ups are not carried forwards to the next level either. You can see all the brick types and power ups via the games main menu's help section.

Overall, Action Ball is a decent breakout, that is well worth adding to your breakout collection and it's being sold at a very fair price. (especially compared to what I originally paid $19.99 for the original game back in 2005 and $14.99 for its first expansion pack totalling $34.98 and never regretted paying so much (pre-2008, all arcade games cost $19.99 with expansions usually costing $14.99).

To be updated:

This is just my initial impression of the game play of this updated version for the first time. I may discover other things as I progress. I would still have loved to have seen a level editor that would have added an extra dimension to this game. Community made levels could have been uploaded to the Steam workshop to share with the Action Ball community; much like you could with most of the Ricochet games apart from the first.

By the way, if you have any of the last three or four Ricochet games (2D breakout) there's a dedicated site that hosts many of the better fan made levels (we are talking thousands of levels). I've posted details elsewhere HERE[www.giveawayoftheday.com], If you don't have any of the games (Ricochet Infinity {2007}, Ricochet {2001}, Ricochet: Lost Worlds {2004} and Ricochet: Lost Worlds: Recharged {2004}} you can now get them free via some abandonware sites, which I suspect I'm not allowed to post links to here, but you can easily Google them. Please note that abandonware is still a grey area legally.

Still, the number of levels you get with Action Ball should keep you entertained for many days, weeks or even months. :)


To the developers, will you be fixing the online high score table so that you can compare your score with other Steam users? A good idea would be to include the option of comparing scores in your friends list. Also, in one of the news threads, you mentioned that you would be releasing some helpful videos; one of then mentioned how to use the level editor. Does this mean you are going to release a level editor? This would be brilliant and would be even better if it was linked to the Steam workshop so that we could share custom levels.
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Got loads more games to trade; just check my inventory. Everything apart from the Free to Play dlc packs are up for trade plus a few others that I've already earmarked for friends or family, but most games from page 1 to 11 are up for grabs so long as a decent trade is offered. I've also got several thousand Steam codes (including games that are no longer available via Steam) from indie bundles that I'd like to trade. I 've posted a list of some of the removed games below and will add more as I find them. I will trade removed games for other games that I don't have in my library, but am not interested in backgrounds, drops from games like CS:Go etc; though I am interested in completing sets of trading cards, so are happy to swap cards.

Those games/dlc in my inventory that have been removed from Steam I'd rather trade for other games that have been removed that I don't own, but at a push I’d consider other options such as games I don't have, or TF2 keys, but those games are at a premium, so no discounts and more than likely a percentage multiplier on the cost of the game. I'm not looking to make a massive profit on those games as I don't like taking advantage of peoples wants, just a fair trade.

You can see a comprehensive list of removed games HERE . As you can see, some games are available online still from places like Amazon, but these sources will dry up as more game collectors buy them up.

Apart from the games/dlc's that have been removed from the Steam store that you can find in my inventory, I also have a Steam code for BRINK which has also been removed and there are quite a few that were included in bundles from 2012 onward that are no longer on Steam; these include keys for:

Your Doodles are Bugged!
Star Trek
Dark Souls™: Prepare To Die™ Edition (Gone - I traded this for a copy of Way of the Hunter, which I gave to a friend)
Ace Combat Assault Horizon - Enhanced Edition
Shattered Horizon x 3 (also got a copy in my inventory)
Lapland Solitaire
Real Heroes: Firefighter
Bloodbath Kavkaz
Bloodbath Kavkaz - Khovan Revenge DLC
Bloodbath Kavkaz - Soundtrack DLC
Darconika: The Cube of Soul
EM: Shader Attack
Lost In Woods 2
One Star
Russian Horror Story
Space Incident
Spakoyno: Back to the USSR 2.0
Spakoyno: Back To USSR 2.0 - OST DLC
Under Zero
Wolf Simulator
Anykey Simulator
Alien Run
Section 8 (got a few copies of this one)
UFO Extraterrestrials Gold
Duke Nukem
Duke Nukem 2
Duke Nukem: Manhattan Project
Subject 9

I still have many more codes to sort through and I expect to see more removed games, which I'll be adding to the above list; especially from some of the earlier bundles I purchased from 2012 to 2017. Unfortunately, it's a tedious process as I have around ten thousand spare codes. (really)

Sadly, I found over 100 removed games from several hundred Indie Gala keys that were voided (gave some to a friend and all were useless), even though they had never been redeemed. I've heard from other Steam friends that they have also had issues with Steam codes from Indie Gala. Fanatical Games (formerly Bundle Stars) does warn that bundle keys should be redeemed as soon as possible because they cannot guarantee the efficacy of the keys after around a year. That said, I've recently given away around 80 keys from some old Bundle Stars (now Fanatical Games) keys and apart from one which I'd actually placed a question mark against, all were redeemed successfully.

P.M. me if you are interested in trading for any of the games in my inventory. I will also trade any card in my inventory. I've decided not to pursue Steam levels as I think it's a big Valve rip off, but I'm still creating sets to get the discount coupons since they changed the drops to coupons for games that you don't own

p.s. I also have a uPlay key for Tom Clancy's EndWar™ (somewhere). I'll confirm it above once I've found it.

I did have several Origin keys, but they recently announced that all keys from old bundles if not already claimed will be voided by the end of this month (March or April 22)
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Collection of all the Official Table Guides by ShoryukenToTheChin, which have been produced for all of the Zen Studios Pinball Video Games thus far.
Steph S. May 5 @ 10:58am 
・ 。
❀∴。 *

  ・ *゚。   *
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  ❀・。°*. ゚
  ❀・。°*. ゚
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   ゚ *.。
。 ✿ ・
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𝓗𝓪𝓿𝓮 𝓪 𝓷𝓲𝓬𝓮 𝓭𝓪𝔂!
Crash_Khan Apr 18 @ 7:48pm 
Almost at 13k, rock on! I just passed 10k although probably half of it is bundle junk. Take care! :ap_happy:
Steph S. Apr 7 @ 11:32am 
─▒▒▒▒▒▒▒──▒▒▒▒▒▒▒──▒▒▒▒▒▒▒─▐████─ Have A Great Week !
Wyvern-of-the-Rising-Sun Mar 31 @ 11:37am 
I´m wishing you a strong and happy Easter.
Have a Wonderfull Time. :-)
Steph S. Mar 28 @ 10:15pm 
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Leandro Mar 19 @ 5:39am 
Amazing screenshot showcase and nice to see your skills in Fallout 76...that definitely helped me decide to get it :coolstar2022: