I’ve spoken before about my love/hate relationship with the iOS platform and in particular the tripe that sits on the App Store (Here). It’s criminal, or at least indecent, how many clones there are on there. When a game like Temple Run does well we then have to put up with a tidal wave of copycats, A catapult game scores high, “Quick guys, build something similar, but not so similar we get sued…”. To an extent it’s clear why it’s done, small developers need to get attention and money to build the projects they really want to do, and to get there they may have to produce things even they’re not proud of. I saw a talk by some UK indie iOS developers, they laid out the cost of producing a game, including wages and a years rent etc, and quite simply it’s a lot of money, since then I’ve had a lot more respect for the indie developers, and with this review of Bouncy! I present to you Monogames , from Sweden, who also gain respect for producing an original iOS game!
Bouncy! (the exclamation mark is part of the title, as such I feel it’s only fair to include it with each reference.) is a, well it’s a, to be perfectly honest I’m not sure I can accurately put this game into a genre, and quite often that is a selling point in itself, to produce something original that is hard to define is a skill in itself. It follows the principles of an action physics puzzle game; you are a half cute and half horrifying bunny rabbit, something that wouldn’t look amiss in Ren and Stimpy or some other mid 90’s adult animation, and your goal, as it is with any bunny rabbit, is to bounce.
For some inexplicable reason, I like to pretend its sheer lazyness, you as the rabbit can’t bounce on your own, you require the help of a trampoline. The controls are simple, press down in the center of the screen to encourage downward motion, when you are at the lowest point of the trampoline you let go of the screen sending bunny flying. With this motion repeated you can get the furry bugger higher and higher, when mixed with pressing the left and right side of the screen for rotation you have an effective but simple control scheme.
You are given challenges, for example; Do 3 forward flips, score X amount of points and so on and so on. With completion of challenges comes points and stars, points is a concept I would hope doesn’t require explanation at this stage, the stars however have a practical use, the ability to change your bunny’s colour and gain rotation bonuses. The background and colours change when you reach certain milestones, it’s a simple but effect way of making you feel like there is an actual change in the game.
Bouncy! is something of an anomaly, it’s an iOS game that made me shout an expletive very loudly, not because of stress or irritation, which is my usual reason, but because this game had one of the most left field and shocking uses of blood in any game I have ever played. In a shooter or beat em up you expect the crimson to flow heartily. But this cute little game produces a mist of claret when you screw up a bounce, and it is honestly jarring. The juxtaposition of the cure and kiddie graphics only to be marred by the explosion of blood is unsettling experience, this is not a negative, it’s yet another string to the bow of this game.
This game is not perfect, it’s set up to be a quick pick up and play game, something you can load up on your phone and enjoy whilst your partner has gone to the toilet in a restaurant, or while your waiting for food in a takeaway but don’t want to tweet about your meal, and for these purposes it is great, but they highlight the games biggest problem in my opinion; it’s really hard.
It isn’t because you have to make sure your bunny is upright when hitting the trampoline, or the clever use of a wind factor to aid or hinder mid-air rotation, it’s the lack of handholding. I progressed through the first few checkpoints with ease, I felt smug, then when coming back to the game a day later I quickly got the simple controls, but understanding how to trigger a combo, when it’s asked for 4, or why there are certain numbers on the screen, or how new trampolines help. All of these problems could be solved with a simple Help button. Other than the difficulty the game only is let down in one other area, although numbers told me I had progressed through a portion of the game, I never really felt it, with the same rotating and the same background, apart from colour, and the same bunny, apart from colour, you just feel like you are doing the same thing over and over. But then that is the game’s purpose, this game is a pick up and play, a kill a few minutes kind of experience, you don’t want heavy story or to be confused by what you see when you load it up for the first time in 2 weeks, as you can see this is an area I’m honestly conflicted with.
The game is fun, the music is painfully cute and well produced and the concept is solid and original. For a 69p game you really can’t go wrong with this purchase, it hit all the right notes with me. Bouncy! Charmed me and then smacked me round the head but I keep coming back just to try to beat that next objective.
-Not Enough Instruction
-Almost Too Much of A Challenge
+Crisp and Clean
+Bouncy Chirpy Happy Music
+Crazy and Fun Noises From Rabbit