holedown is the best game of 2018

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holedown is my favorite game all year. It starts with a bit of a grind, as you learn the basics of the game, but if you keep plodding along after a few hours and maybe a couple days of casual play, you’ll start adding more balls to every turn and move your way from asteroids to planets and then suns and eventually to the black hole infinity level with all your power-ups maxed out. It might take a week to get to that point, but the game is far from over.

That’s when the second phase of the game begins and it’s the never-ending level where movements feel precise to a single degree of tiny movements left or right. The last level goes on forever but starts at 300m deep. I only successfully get to 400m maybe 1 out of 5 games I play. Once you are past 400m and then to 500m, the extra balls go into play and the game gets a bit easier. If you can make it to somewhere around 700m deep, your balls per turn max out at 99, and breaking out of walls gets a little easier. But there are always difficult obstacles in your way.

Somewhere around 1000m, the game is close to impossible. Any turn at an imperfect angle and your game is up. It also takes about two hours of continuous play to get to that point. Sure, you can pause it at any time and come back later, but if you do, you’ll lose your edge and your angles will be slightly off and one bad turn will end your game. 1072m is as far as I’ve ever gotten. I’ve only been in the 900m range twice. The highest score in the world is in the 1200m range. Also? I recognize three people in the top ten as people I know and have hung out with.

It’s been a long time since I can recall a game where the initial tutorials and early level grinds are addictive and fun, but then also after you’ve “solved” the major puzzles the game remains infinitely playable beyond.

The only thing that concerns me about this game is at least two people I know who are pretty good at it had to delete it from their phones to get any of their work done. For the past few weeks, I’ve spent 15min here and there playing it each day, so I’m not quite there yet, but I could easily see spending several hours on a weekend playing it continuously and wondering if it might be time to stop playing it forever.

But before it gets to that point, it’s still a really great game worth checking out.