Ragdoll Blaster Review

Ragdoll Blaster Review

Oct 24, 2011

Physics-based games on the Android Market are a dime a dozen. There, I said it. And yet, despite their ubiquity, I still enjoy them for a brief time. They offer a simple, proven gameplay mechanic that you can’t help but get into with very little effort. However, when you come across a game that isn’t too novel when compared to similar games, you have to ask for a little more originality. If nothing else, polish and presentation is of the utmost importance. While not a terrible game, Ragdoll Blaster finds itself lacking just such qualities.

From the beginning, Ragdoll Blaster requires you to log into your Mobage account, if you have one. If not, you are simply locked-out of the game until you create one. The social gaming network gives you the ability to connect with friends and compare scores, but the lack of option to use the network seems arrogant. It also requires an internet connection, making this game even less attractive to those who don’t have or don’t want to use their 3G connections while away from a WiFi router. Of course, the game also takes the liberty of installing a shortcut to Mobage right on your home screen. It’s excessive and invasive, but it’s required if you want to play this game. I’ll leave it up to you to decide if that’s fair, considering that this is a free game, but it doesn’t sit well with me, at all.

Beyond the odd requirements, the game is a fun, but standard, physics-based game. Your goal is to fire as few ragdolls as possible from a canon in the attempt to hit a target set somewhere on the screen. It’s a slightly different gameplay mechanic, as opposed to knocking over obstacles or crashing structures for points. Sometimes, you have to hit a moving target while other times you have to act quickly, setting up moving set pieces that open a gap or move the target to a place where you can hit it. Ragdoll Blaster shifts back and forth from being all about precision aiming to patient timing and skills.

Aiming and controlling your shots couldn’t be easier. Simply touch the screen to aim, set velocity and fire a ragdoll, all at the same time. The game even marks your last shot, making it easier to make minor adjustments in case you miss the first time. However, the mark remains, even after you reset the level. This means that you can easily get the lowest score on a level just by restarting and firing again. With just over 100 levels, you might find yourself burning through the game in an hour or two, assuming you don’t come up against a level you simply can’t figure out.

Ragdoll Blaster has little to offer fans of this style of gameplay that they haven’t seen elsewhere. The simplistic visuals might be easier on older Android devices, but it doesn’t help the game compete with better games in the same genre. Given the odd requirements and lack of polish, this is a free game you can afford to miss.


Ragdoll Blaster Review Rundown

5
Graphics/Sound - The visuals are very sparse, simple line drawings on a "paper" background. It's a style that keeps the gameplay from becoming intimidating by remaining very simple, and it's much easier to see without a "busy" background, but it's a style that has become stale and overdone in the world of smartphone games. Then there's the background music -- "Hall of the Mountain King." Pleasant and recognizable, even if a bit unusual.
10
Controls - The controls are very simple -- it takes just one touch to aim, set velocity and fire without any other gestures required. It's a setup that works exceedingly well.
7
Gameplay - While the gameplay is extremely similar to many other physics-based games, it does offer something different from the usual fare. Requiring accuracy, speed and adaptability, you aren't just knocking things down to rack up points. It's still very much the same as other games you might have played, but if you like a good challenge and love physics-based games, Ragdoll Blaster does offer something for you.
4
Replay Value - The difficulty level will vary, depending on your skill level. Sometimes, you can find yourself up against a level that appears to be extremely difficult but has a solution that might be completely obvious to someone else. Ragdoll Blaster also uses the Mobage social gaming network to keep track of games that friends are playing and gives you a way to compare scores. Even so, with just over 100 levels to complete, you might have the game solved in a few hours with little reason to go back.
6.5
Overall - If you're hard up for a free game to while away a few hours, you could certainly do worse than Ragdoll Blaster. However, worth noting is that the game requires a Mobage account just to play. It also annoyingly nags you every so often to rate the game on the Android Market, suggesting a "5 star" review if you're enjoying it. It also installs a Mobage shortcut on your homescreen. For some users, that's a big "no no," while the access requirements of seeing your "contact list" also throws up a red flag. In the end, you have to consider if this free game is worth the price of admission where your privacy and control over what goes on your device is concerned.

App available on the Google Play Store »

Dale Culp
Dale Culp has been writing about video games in print and on the web for the better part of the last 10 years. From the Atari 2600 to the Xbox 360 and beyond, he's covered just about everything. You'll find his work in places such as TheWeekender.com, GoLackawanna.com, Gamesylvania.com, EscapistMagazine.com and even IGN.com
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