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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.
  • In the Robin Series, 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 

    Film — Live Action 
  • Jackie Chan escapes in a Zorb in the Operation Condor film of the Armor of God series.
  • 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.
  • 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 inside a giant, inflatable ball that he uses to walk around on the surface of the water. The megalodon 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.
  • The World Is Not Enough overlaps, to a degree, with Be the Ball—Bond has an inflatable escape sphere hidden in his ski-suit.

  • 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 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.
  • 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 

    Real Life 
  • Zorbing — the sport or activity of rolling downhill in a giant transparent plastic ball.
  • Hamster balls, by which some examples likely are inspired and with which most will be compared.


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?

4.75 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / ActionBomb

Media sources: