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Bounce the Bunny (iPhone / iPad)

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1 Review

Manufacturer: Backflip Studios / Type: iPhone / iPad Game

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      13.04.2012 16:18
      Very helpful
      (Rating)

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      Only for the seriously masochistic

      Bounce Bunny is a platform-come-physics game for the iPhone. Your task is to get cute little rabbit Bounce safely from the ledge he is sitting on to another. Ideally, you should also plan your route to collect stars along the way for extra bonus points.

      Of course, there's a catch. You can't actually control Bounce directly. Instead you must create a series of balls that he can use to bounce on and safely traverse the screen. The bigger the ball, the higher Bounce will jump, allowing you to reach seemingly impossible ledges. Once you think you've got your balls correctly positioned, give Bounce a kick up the backside (literally) to launch him on his way and see if he gets across or plummets to his doom.

      Despite sounding quite promising, Bounce Bunny is an exercise in frustration. There are the seeds of a good game hiding in there, but they are so buried under unnecessarily frustrating elements or badly implemented controls that any promising aspects are soon forgotten. In some ways, this makes things worse because with a little more thought and care, Bounce could have been a fun game.

      The graphics attempt for "cute" but fall way short and I actually found them slightly creepy. There's a nicely drawn title screen using the sorts of primary colours you would expect from a cutesy game and this is accompanied by a jolly little tune. The actual levels sadly are rather bland. The ledges and cliffs consist of browns and blacks and whilst there is some use of colour, this is mainly limited to the backgrounds. Bounce himself is little more than a rip off of the Raving Rabbids, and I'm only surprised that Ubisoft haven't come after developer Backflip Studios with a big stick (or at least a Cease and Desist Order).

      Sound is equally insipid. A bog-standard "jolly" tune plays in the background, whilst the rest of the effects are equally unimaginative. I sometimes feel like a stuck record when it comes to iPhone games, but this is one of many titles that I play with the sound turned down.

      The slightly primitive graphics and sound could be forgiven if there was a decent game in there, but if anything, the gameplay is even worse. It's just too fiddly and precise to be fun. Get a bubble a couple of millimeteres too big, or slightly too far to the left or the right and you will see your bunny get frustrastingly close to safety, only to see him fall off the ledge at the last minute, missing the target by millimeters Each level became little more than a wearisome exercise in trial and error, repeating a level endlessly and making miniscule adjustments to the size or positioning of the balls each time, until you finally get it right. Your reward for that, of course, is that you can start the whole tiresome process again on the next level.

      The finicky controls do not encourage precise movement. To create or resize a ball, you drag two fingers outward in opposite directions; to move it to a new position, hold and drag it across the screen. In theory this doesn't sound too tricky; in practice they are highly unresponsive. Trying to create a ball of exactly the right size (and I mean EXACTLY) is frustrating beyond belief and you'll find yourself constantly moving your fingers backwards and forwards resizing the ball by microscopic amounts.

      Moving balls across the screen is frustrating experience. I've lost count of the number of times I've thought I've been dragging a ball to a new location only to find that it has stubbornly remained where it was. The controls are so finicky and precise that Bounce Bunny becomes more akin to undertaking a precision engineering project than a fun game and I quickly found myself losing interest.

      This is all made worse by the fact that the game doesn't actually give you any help at all on the first screen. I sat there for ages wondering what on earth I was meant to do and how I could control the rabbit. There was no obvious Help button (there is one, but it's well camouflaged) and I searched around for ages just trying to get started. Later levels do provide a brief tutorial for more advanced techniques, but it doesn't exactly give you a positive first impression.

      If you have far, far more patience than I have, more spare time than you know what to do with and a masochistic streak a mile wide, Bounce Bunny could well be the game for you. About the only positive thing you can say about the title is that it's free to download (with the inevitable in-app purchase options, of course). Even allowing for that, it's still a travesty of a game. Whoever said "the best things in life are free" had clearly never had Bounce Bunny inflicted on them.

      © Copyrigth SWSt 2012

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