Ounce Bounce Review

Ounce Bounce Review

Mar 8, 2012

With some games it’s not too difficult to guess where the inspiration came from. Others are deliberately random, and that adds to their charm. And some are just sort of inexplicable and are attention-drawing in that way. Ounce Bounce falls into the last category, which is why I tried it out.

Ounce Bounce is the story of a young owl is undertaking flight-training when he accidentally topples backward into a well. The tiny crash-helmeted owl is trapped at the bottom underneath a vast field of strangely suspended debris. Users help him make his way back to the top. In his way are bricks and boards. When crashed into the boards will move slightly, and the bricks will explode for points. It’s an endurance game and Ounce is constantly fighting against gravity, trying to drift up to the top of the well and not falling back down to the bottom. Users help him by swiping their finger up along his path to send him up. Users can rebound him off of boards to gain height, or into bricks to blast a path. The longer Ounce is kept in the air, the higher the score.

It’s a cute game, and the idea is interesting. Crashing into the bricks is quite satisfying, and it’s fun to challenge myself to see how long I can keep Ounce going. But that’s really all I have to say that’s specifically positive.

Truth be told I just didn’t like this game very much. It’s weirdly slow and lackluster, and there is actually very little accuracy when controlling Ounce. He is such a tiny object that swiping across his path only has about a 60% success rate and the lack of control makes it very defeating to play. Ounce himself looks so gloomy and defeated that it makes me wonder why he even wants to leave the well. I gave it a reasonable go but it just didn’t pass the cut.

RocketBird Review

RocketBird Review

Jan 13, 2012

Some games thrive on backstory, detailed plots, and compelling characters to draw you in. Other games are inherently interesting enough not to need any trappings, and Rocket Bird is one of them. In fact, with no story and no tutorial, you find yourself playing the moment you start the game. But luckily the learning curve is short and you’ll be on your way in no time.

RocketBird seems like the result of someone having a funny dream about a jetpack-enhanced chicken, and this is the realization of that dream. The game gives you a third-person view of the bird on its path, or rather a view of the bird’s behind and the rocket on its back. He’s wearing a crash helmet and flaps his little wings intermittently and it’s just too adorable. He’s flying along a pastoral countryside, just zooming along as fast as possible. The goal of RocketBird is distance covered without crashing. As you fly, various obstacles appear suddenly in your path, such as fences, pine trees, windmills and cows. You use the accelerometer to navigate, and are actually able to make some pretty steep turns when avoiding sudden trees. You have a meter running down beside you as you fly, and it’s essentially a fuel gauge. To gain speed and keep your meter topped up you must steer into any lightning bolts that appear in your path. These give you a sudden hyper -boost, accompanied by a brief and rousing “Halleluiah!” But beware, the sudden boost can make navigating a bit of a challenge. Don’t avoid the lightning bolts though, because when the meter runs out your journey will end rather abruptly. When you do crash, you land with a *bonk* and a cartoon cloud of chicken feathers.

I never expected to find a game that is simultaneously hypnotically calming while at the same time being randomly stress inducing. I don’t think that the bizarre combination was the developers’ intent, but it is an interesting result in any case. I’ve found myself playing the game right before I go to bed and then closing my eyes to see the flying continue. But as you go faster and faster a sudden crash can be quite jarring.

I just wish that the game makers had spent a bit more time on making sure that the different levels are properly different in appearance. With over 20-levels I expected some newness in each but instead found more of the same: watching the same clumps of tree constantly pass by eventually made me feel like I was in a Tom & Jerry cartoon.

Dragon, Fly! Review

Dragon, Fly! Review

Oct 17, 2011

Every once in a while a game comes to the market that proves that having a cutesy premise coupled with basic, yet solid, controls is the perfect storm for awesomeness. Four Pixels mastered this combination with their game Dragon, Fly! Thus we have yet another prime example of why not everything centers on massive graphics and a variety of guns to be terribly fun and time-consuming.

This is a simple game, but don’t let that fool you into thinking it is an easy game. Tapping on the screen causes the baby dragon to dive, and this is essential to racing down hills to gain speed. Releasing the finger at the right time removes the downward force and allows the player to rocket up the next hill. Timing these two factors perfectly will cause a “swoosh” affect, and the baby dragon will gain massive height and speed, thus putting vital distance between baby and mother. Perfecting this control system is essential when it comes to the more difficult realms and out running the mother who is chasing behind. Completing the gameplay are diamonds and potions to gather, new dragons to acquire, and special abilities to aid in obtaining massive distances. It is madly addicting, and challenging when one must hurriedly decided if loosing some speed is worth it for a few extra gems.

The controls are not the only simple item as the presentation stays lighthearted. Each realm comes with its own set of muted colors ranging from delicate greens to muddy browns. The best part is the stages change everyday, so there is always something new to enjoy. The audio could serve as the intro for a child’s Saturday morning cartoon. It comes together nicely, but I found myself turning on the radio or plugging into my computer for better ear candy while playing.

The downfall of this game is not due to controls or a simplistic presentation, but rather a feeling of unoriginality. Anyone familiar with Tiny Wings will feel as though they are playing the exact same game, just re-skinned and the difficulty turned down. However, those that have never played Tiny Wings on iOS will now see what all they hype was about, but those that have played this iOS game will feel cheated.

As the saying goes: “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”, and there is a fun game here. The controls stay simple, the difficulty ramps up nicely, and it is fun to come back between chores and play for a few minutes. Be warned, downloading this may cause a detrimental loss of productivity.