Developer: All Those Moments
Release Date: 27 April 2018
Price: $4.99 / £4.49
Reviewed by Pat Lunn
Question: What do you get when you combine golf game mechanics requiring slow methodical timing with fast-paced platformer elements?
Answer: All Those Moment’s latest title, Bouncy Bob, for Nintendo Switch, and with this simple question it’s already pretty easy to see where the concept falls down.
Bobbing for Apples (and Gameplay)
With a playful Halloween aesthetic, Bouncy Bob follows the trials and tribulations of a small inky blob as he attempts to clear different arenas of an unspecified zombie infestation by bouncing on their undead noggins. Each arena has a few unique features, whether it’s a specific enemy type or a unique piece of terrain that poses a small gameplay challenge.
Bob moves using typical golf-controls where you must pick the angle and power of each leap, but he also has a few ways of making slightly faster (yet uncontrollable) movements in a pinch by smashing the ‘a’ button. The zombies move in real time and so while you’re trying to line up the perfect shot it can be hard, if not impossible, to work out where all the enemies will be by the time you have flung Bob across the arena.
Bob has a health bar too, so if you leave him near the zombies without hitting him away from them, they will devour him in a matter of seconds. Mix in up to three other players, as well as a handful of special power-ups, and it makes Super Smash Bros look like a flawless demonstration in synchronized military combat.
The problem is, while Bouncy Bob is a whirlwind of chaotic design choices, it doesn't quite add up to a fun experience. When I played both alone and with friends I found the animation and gameplay endearing at the opening of each stage, as Bob normally starts away from any danger to give you at least one carefully planned shot.
The tutorial features a few slow-paced demonstrations and I couldn’t help but feel that if that approach had been taken across the whole game, removing a lot of the platform elements and instead keeping it more of a competitive puzzler, this would be getting a much higher score. The mechanic shows potential, as well as both the animation and sound design, but it ultimately feels like somewhat of a missed opportuinty.
Amongst the wide variety of innovative games hitting the Nintendo eShop Bouncy Bob is one that fails to shine through, though it shows some promise from the development team over at All Those Moments. While it's worth keeping an eye on the studio going forward, it's difficult to recommend this particular title unless you’ve found yourself in a pool of money and must save yourself from downing.
Pros & Cons
+ Good animation
+ Great sound design
- Contradictory gameplay elements
- Little context or story
- Repetitive stage layout