More bouncing than Iggy Azalea.
People often say that the simplest kind of fun is the best kind. That explains why the same old board games have retained their charm – Snakes and Ladders, Connect Four, Guess Who – all require the minimum level of thinking to understand, and hence have been established as mainstays in popular family entertainment.
Bouncy Bob is quite possibly even easier to get to grips with than those three board games. The only button you need to remember is the A button – it controls the entire game. Rarely before has a game felt like it must have come from a mobile origin, such is its simplicity. Bouncy Bob is in the Angry Birds mould of working with trajectories through the air and using well-timed and weighted jumps. Hold down the A button and main character Bob starts rocking from left to right, with an arrow pointing from his head signifying the direction he’ll sail off in once you release the button.
The aim of the game is to score enough points by landing on enemies’ heads in order to progress to the next level for more of the same. But it’s a minimalistic yet frustrating experience. Enemies can move laterally, while Bob can only move by leaping. You never really feel fully in control of Bob, and when enemies bear down on you very quickly, it just seems far too difficult to get yourself out of the way. Plus, even when you think you’ve got enough air to pounce on an enemy’s head, or if you’re sliding down the slide wall of a stage with a group of enemies below, the enemies can still deal you damage when logic dictates that gravity should be able to trump the damage of simply touching them slightly off-centre.
There are fifteen stages in the game, each with varying levels of difficulty, but all share the same objective, which is to amass a set number of points in order to unlock the next stage. The action continues when you’ve passed that score limit, so at that point the game becomes a high score fest, and the game records your best performance for a bit of replay value. There are powerups which fire shots in all directions if you hit them or cover Bob with a shield, but you can never quite hit them when you want to – accidentally hit one and you need to wait a full thirty seconds before the power-up recharges.
Despite the simple controls, the handling of the game is frustrating. You cannot take off for a jump unless you hold the A button down long enough for him to have enough power to leave the ground. The lame jumps Bob pulls off when you don’t hold the button down long enough are a huge annoyance, and you don’t get the time to mess it up once – or even to nail it perfectly in a lot of cases. Landing is never quite predictable too – though you can hammer the jump button right after take-off to get more air.
I’m never one to be disappointed that a new game has released on Switch, but it’s blatantly obvious that Bouncy Bob is a game best served on mobile. If you’re going to get it on Switch, do it during a sale.