stoneball.pngJohn D. Moore (thesycophant), creator of freeware gem Caverns of Khron and steady contributor to Glorious Trainwrecks, has released a new game called Super Stone Ball, and it's won me over with its effortless mix of cleverness and charm. It's a small game, in screen resolution and in length, and it's the perfect size in which to thoroughly explore its central gameplay mechanic: turning to stone.

Each level (there are 8) gives you a limited number of balls to use to reach the exit. Controlling one ball at a time, you roll with the left and right arrow keys, jump with X, and turn to stone with Z. If you get stuck, you can hit R to restart. The levels are carefully crafted and you must always guide your balls to places that are further and/or higher than your weak jump can reach. So, you must find a useful position and turn to stone in order to make it easier for the next ball. Don't take too long; stone balls will eventually crumble. The premise is simple and the presentation is spare, but it all adds up to an almost perfect diversion that engages and doesn't overstay its welcome.

Similar gameplay ideas have been used before (such as in Dan Cox's Inevitability), but Super Stone Ball weaves the concept seamlessly into a cute puzzle-platformer that's genuinely fun to play. Super Stone Ball is a free Windows-only download from Game Jolt or Glorious Trainwrecks.