Grubby Gems

Three great stocking stuffers for kids of all ages.
FizzBall

If you are more action-oriented than puzzle-oriented (like me), give FizzBall a try. The object in this game is to collect all the animals. There are crates and rocks and trees and even aliens in your way. You play by bouncing your fizzball off of these obstacles while making sure you don't let the ball get past you.

Figure 5. The ball starts out small in FizzBall...

At the start of a level, your fizzball is small and can pick up only nuts, apples and butterflies. As you collect more food and animals, your ball gets bigger and bigger, allowing you to collect even larger animals. Everything literally snowballs, and by the end of the level, you should have a pretty substantial fizzball bouncing around the screen collecting animals and destroying every crate and fence that gets in the way. You beat levels by collecting all the animals.

Figure 6. ...but it keeps growing the more animals you catch.

The game has a ton of power-ups to keep things interesting, and there also are special achievements you can collect for beating levels in a certain way.

One of my favorite features is that the kid difficulty level has a bumper along the bottom of the screen that prevents you from losing your fizzball. This makes the game playable even for very young children.

Conclusion

You can't go wrong with any of these games. If I had to choose between Professor Fizzwizzle and Professor Fizzwizzle and the Molten Mystery I would go with the latter, simply because it has more gadgets, harder puzzles and a better level editor. However, if I could choose only one of the three, I would choose FizzBall.

There are demos of the games at the Grubby Games Web site, so you can try before you buy. If you do decide to purchase one or more of them, I can honestly say that they're all worth the price. Games are $19.94 each, but there's a $5 discount if you bundle more games with your purchase. Now, if you'll excuse me, there's this one level that I have to get back to....

Daniel Bartholomew lives with his wife and children in North Carolina. He can be found on-line at his occasionally updated blog: ubuntu-watch.com.

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