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Sphere Factor

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Characters using a large, spherical or cylindrical object as transportation and/or a weapon, whether by rolling or bouncing. They may use it by being inside or on top of it.

Sub Tropes include Floating in a Bubble. Compare Rolling Attack when the characters move like a ball/wheel and Be the Ball for when they are the ball. Also see Monowheel Mayhem when the characters are inside a large wheel.


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    Anime & Manga 

    Asian Animation 
  • Miss Earth from Pleasant Goat Fun Class: The Earth Carnival travels through the air using a little flying globe that she stands on.

    Comic Books 
  • The Legion of Super-Heroes's most iconic mode of transport outside of their flight rings is their time traveling Time Bubbles, which look like giant glass orbs with a door, seat and control panel.
  • A infamous Lois Lane story from the Silver Age of comics had her traveling everywhere in a transparent bubble-like vehicle (to protect her from criminals) after she married Superman publicly, making her look like a human goldfish.
  • Robin: Tim Drake finds himself balancing on top of a giant bowling ball. While doing so, he remarks that Batman actually made him practice this in the Batcave.

    Film — Animated 
  • In Happy Heroes: The Stones, the Huixin army that attacks Planet Qiyuan at the beginning of the film uses large, spherical vehicles that can attach to each other to produce large caterpillar-like constructions. Similarly, Big M. uses a giant spherical vehicle to attack Planet Xing; it uses a cannon to launch large disks.
  • In The Incredibles, Dash and Violet team up to use one of Violet's force fields this way, with Dash using his speed to move the force bubble along like a hamster ball.

    Film — Live Action 
  • Jackie Chan escapes in a Zorb in the Operation Condor film of the Armor of God series.
  • The Avengers (1998). Our heroes Walk on Water using a kind of Zorb ball to get to the supervillain's Island Base.
  • James Bond
    • Diamonds Are Forever: James Bond traversed the open sea in a big, plastic dodecahedron in order to reach Blofeld's oil-rig base, effectively inventing Zorbing.
    • The World Is Not Enough overlaps, to a degree, with Be the Ball—Bond has an inflatable escape sphere hidden in his ski-suit.
  • In Jurassic World, Zach and Gray are using a gyrosphere to travel around a valley full of dinosaurs.
  • In The Meg, during the megalodon's attack at the Sanya Bay beach, one of the beachgoers is using a Zorb ball and tries fleeing in it, over the top of others trying to swim for safety. This only attracts the attention of the megalodon which is big enough to wrap its jaws around the ball and pop it to get at the human inside.
  • Mortal Kombat: Annihilation: Liu Kang and Kitana traverse the tunnels of Outworld at one point in a spherelike vehicle that The Nostalgia Critic dubbed the "Fuck Ball" due to the two's...rather suggestive interactions while in it.

  • Rollerball, one of the Commander Shaw spy thrillers by Philip McCutchan, has a flanged sphere twelve feet in diameter, with a bomb inside, rolling on an unstoppable course towards a Soviet base.
  • In the Vorkosigan Saga, haut women from the Cetagandan Empire are almost never seen — they float around in opaque force field bubbles (and occasionally get places really fast by jumping off buildings in them).
  • Whateley Universe: Though most of Team Kimba are capable of flight, they start combining Tennyo and Fey's powers in the sims as a way to move the whole team quickly. Fey creates a force field bubble around the team, and Tennyo, the fastest flier, pushes it.
  • A short story featured in Playboy magazine (of all things) was the result of a competition for entrants to design a lunar exploration vehicle. An experienced Sci-fi author and an engineer then analyzed the designs for their strengths and weaknesses and wrote a story featuring a race between the twelve best designs, many of which drop out or drop behind as their flaws arise to bite them. One of the finishers is a rolling-ball machine that fits this trope, whose engines break down within sight of the finish line. The crew leave their seats and scramble inside the ball like hamsters in a wheel to get it across the line.
  • E.E. "Doc" Smith was very fond of using spherical ships for Man's initial forays into space, featuring them in both the Skylark and Lensman series before describing an evolution to elongated teardrop shapes later. In addition, the Zone of Force used as both a shield and a destructive cutting weapon in Skylark Three also manifests as a sphere.

    Live-Action TV 

    Tabletop Games 

    Video Games 
  • In Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg, the gameplay consists mainly of rolling eggs around. However, Billy is on the ground and is pushing the egg around. He derives strength to battle from them, running noticeably faster when he's pushing an egg along and uses eggs as weapons.
  • Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex has four levels that Crash traverses in a device called an Atlasphere. The Atlasphere returns in the second Game Boy Advance installment, Crash Bandicoot 2: N-Tranced.
  • Donkey Kong Country: the Kongs can jump on top of rolling steel kegs and use it to plow through enemies. Kongs can also ride other Kongs in such a fashion in Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble! (Dixie on Kiddy) and Donkey Kong Country Returns (Diddy on Donkey). In the latter, that means a big speed increase.
  • The rolling "elevators" from Taejin's Tower in Final Fantasy XIII. They get around by rolling, but they only roll two-dimensionally (up/down or forward/backwards).
  • Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep: Ven can use yarnballs this way in The Castle of Dreams.
  • The Roll Call Link Attack in Kingdom Hearts 3D [Dream Drop Distance] has Sora ride on top of the participating Dream Eater in this fashion.
  • In Kirby Star Allies: Marx can run around on top of a Weaponized Ball that he can kick towards enemies. If he's infused with the wind power, he can run in midair with the ball.
  • In The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, Link uses a stone ball in this fashion to traverse some lava in the second dungeon.
  • The "levitation" power in Psychonauts works in this fashion. Instead of actually levitating, Raz creates a solid thought bubble that he can ride, bounce on, or use as a parachute.
  • There are roller balls in Serious Sam II which you can get into.
  • Shows up as a level gimmick in Sonic the Hedgehog 4 and Sonic the Hedgehog (2006).
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • Super Mario Bros. 3: This is the signature weapon of Lemmy Koopa, who moves by maneuvering a circus ball and throws others at Mario and Luigi. He retains this motif in all subsequent games except Super Mario World.
    • Super Mario Galaxy: in places such as the Rolling Gizmo Galaxy, and its sequel, Mario rolls on a sphere with a star in it.
    • Yoshi uses eggs as a means of attack and sometimes turns into an egg as a means of transportation.
    • Mario Party: In the minigame Bumper Balls, the players are on top of large basketball-like balls; the objective for each character is to push the other three into the water around the island they're situated on.
    • Mario Party 2: The minigame Bumper Balls returns from the first game, and now comes in three variations: An area set in a snowy summit, an area placed at the top of a pillar erected from a lava pit, and a round island similar to the minigame's version found in the first game.
    • Mario Party 3: The minigame Bounce 'n' Trounce takes place in a 3x3 platform suspended in a starry sky, and the players stand on it while riding bouncy balls as they try to push each other onto the pit. As time passes, some of the tiles of the platform begin falling down one by one. The last player standing wins, but if 30 seconds pass and more than one remains, the minigame ends in a draw.
    • Mario Party 4:
      • In the minigame Hop or Pop, three characters have their bodies encased in rubber balls except their heads, while the fourth player is completely encased within a spiked plastic ball. The objective of the solo player is to roll into the other players to burst their balls, while these have to move by hopping to evade. The solo player wins if they manage to defeat all the other characters; but if at least one of the fleeing players manages to survive during 45 seconds, then the trio wins.
      • In the minigame Blame It On The Crane, one character is using a crane machine to attempt to grab all other three characters, who are encased on transparent balls and rolling with them. The solo character will succeed if they grab all of them, while the opposing trio will win if at least one of them manages to resist during 60 seconds.
    • Mario Party 5: The minigame Flatiator has one character ride a big circus ball to attempt to crush the other three characters, who are running on foot while avoiding both the solo player and the Monty Moles from the ground that try to make them trip. The solo player wins if they manage to crush all three rivals, while the trio wins if at least one of them survives after 45 seconds.
    • Mario Party 6: The DK minigame Pier Factor has all characters get inside barrels and begin rolling across color-coded piers, with white-colored detours that connect them. Along the way, they can get bananas (both single and bunches) that are later traded for coins (how many per banana is determined by a wheel prior to the minigame). If two players clash in a detour, they'll resume their original paths.
    • Mario Party 7: The trope-naming minigame appears in this game. Players are split into teams of two and have to cooperate in navigating a gigantic ball, via pushing it, through an obstacle course. Whichever team manages to take their ball to the goal first wins.
    • Mario Party 8: The minigame Balancing Act has two dueling characters maneuver a large circus ball while navigating through a perilous obstacle course in a circus tent; there are platforms that take them to higher spots, as well as Thwomps that have to be avoided to avoid getting crushed. Whoever reaches the end first wins.
    • Mario Party DS: The minigame Roller Coasters has all characters maneuvering small toy balls to race across a sandbox to reach a sandcastle at the end. Along the way, they'll find obstacles like shovels, buckets, moving toy trucks, and building toy blocks. The first player to reach the castle wins. If two or more players get there at the same time (or just two players in Duel mode), the minigame ends in a tie.
    • Mario Party: Island Tour: In the minigame Musical Snares, the characters are maneuvering onto rubber balls on top of a giant drum, and have to collect musical notes (the silver ones are worth one point each, while the gold ones are worth two). As a character collects the notes, their rubber ball will grow bigger. After 30 seconds, whoever got the highest score (and thus stands onto the largest ball) wins.
    • Mario Party 10:
      • In Balance Ball Brawl, players have to walk around on balls to navigate a small maze of paths with the objective of running over all of the switches before anyone else. Because of how narrow the paths are, it is impossible to pass another player on the same path, so the only way to avoid bumping into the opponents is to take a different path.
      • The 2-vs.-2 minigame Soccer Brawl has two teams of two players each play a game of soccer, trying to score more goals than the opposing team within one minute. However, all players are moving around while balancing atop balls, and the only way to move the soccer ball is to bump into it.
    • Mario Party: Star Rush: In Rolling Rumble, each player stands atop a ball on a pedestal in the middle of a circus tent, and Shy Guys appear atop the pedestal rolling around on their own rubber balls. Players must knock the Shy Guys off of the pedestal in order to earn coins.
    • Mario Party: The Top 100: In addition to the eponymous Trope Namer from Mario Party 7, other minigames of this type like Bumper Balls (2) and Bounce 'n' Trounce (3) appear. The former one has two teams of characters guiding a large ball through an obstacle course to the goal, and is part of the Racing category; the latter two have the character ride the balls and knock away each other until only one remains, and are part of the Action category.
    • Super Mario Party: The minigame Bumper Brawl has each player rolling around an arena encased in a larger plastic ball, and the goal is to push all of the opposing players out of the arena by bumping into them.
  • The primary concept of Super Monkey Ball is about playing as a monkey trapped inside a transparent ball.
  • One challenge in Trials HD has you try to balance your motorbike on a giant metal sphere, and transport it as far as you can without falling off.
  • Unreal Tournament III has the Scavenger, a Spider Tank, which can turn into a sphere for fast (if poorly controllable) traveling.


    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: Aang invented an air-bending technique that used a ball of spinning air like this, sitting on top of it to achieve some pretty incredible speeds on the ground or to travel along vertical (or nearly vertical) surfaces. He taught the other Air Nomad kids how to do it and they even invented a game where two teams all use the technique to race or something (the audience never gets to see it, because they won't let Aang play since it would be unfair for one team to have the Avatar on their side).
  • In Ben 10: Omniverse, one of Ben's newer aliens, Ball Weevil, can do this with the sticky spheres he spits out of his mouth.
  • Gravity Falls: Mabel has a dream sequence inspired by the human sized hamster ball she finds in a magazine. This dream is so intense that it somehow invades Dipper's Indiana Jones fantasy later on.
  • Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius has Jimmy bouncing around to school in a spherical bubble. It pops, much to the amusement of his peers on the bus to whom he had just been condescending.
  • Kick Buttowski: Suburban Daredevil: In "Kick the Habit," Kick has to go a full day without doing stunts or else he goes to military camp. He tries to prevent it outright by having Gunther put him in a plastic bubble, but immediately caves and rolls off the cliff they're on and gets caught by the military man. Fortunately this was just a bad daydream, so he gets Gunther to pop the bubble and moves onto a different solution.
  • The Looney Tunes Show: In the Roadrunner short "Bubble Trouble," Wile E. gets trapped in plastic bubble and uses it to keep up with the Roadrunner.
  • The titular characters in Phineas and Ferb do this on a giant gumball machine in "Are You My Mummy?". They also have done bowling from the inside of a giant bowling ball. And a giant bubble. They do a lot of spherical travel.

    Real Life 


Video Example(s):


Splatoon 2 - Baller

The Baller lets the user roll around inside a large inflatable ball filled with ink. It can then be detonated, spreading the ink over a large area.

How well does it match the trope?

4.78 (9 votes)

Example of:

Main / ActionBomb

Media sources: