The game's premise has promise, but it falls apart when the game tries to drain players' wallets for additional play sessions. In PunBall, kids aim balls at rows of creatures, or try to bounce balls off of walls to hit them. The creatures each have a point total, which kids wear down with each strike. With every shot they take, the rows of foes advance toward them. Any that reach the main character will attack, depleting the player's power. If enough do, the character will die, and the round ends.
The game's structure is similar to pinball. Occasionally, a blue box appears in one of the rows, and by shooting it, kids can unlock one of three special skill options. They may be able to throw a fireball, for instance, or opt for a ball that does more damage to closer enemies. Being able to choose which one you want is nice, but you can't switch back and forth between the new skill and the traditional ball. The aiming process isn't always precise, which takes away some opportunities for kids to use strategy when playing. The pace can also feel a bit slow at times, since kids have to wait to begin to make their next shot until the new row of creatures has dropped from the top of the screen. They can also use coins they've earned to increase their playing power, but lives can be hard to come by and easy to use up. The levels get more difficult quickly, with creatures that require multiple strikes to perish. If kids try a few times but can't complete a level, they'll find themselves locked out of the game soon after they start playing -- and their energy supply won't replenish quickly. They'll need to wait several minutes for each lightning bolt to fill up again, and they have to get 10 to start playing. The app offers plenty of things you can buy to speed that up -- and it'll remind you about its for-purchase items often. Unfortunately, with such a lengthy wait, instead of getting absorbed in PunBall, players may end up spending more time staring at its timer.