Sunday, June 29, 2008

Mr. Bounce

Mr. Bounce takes an old classic and attempts to inject some life into it, but perhaps not entirely successfully. The basic gameplay is familiar to anyone who's ever played Breakout, or Brickles, or Arkanoid: bounce the ball off of your paddle to destroy the targets. Unlike most games typical to this genre, however, the ball does not bounce off of targets after hitting one, so it's very easy to bag many targets in a single shot. There are some levels which have indestructible walls (either fixed or moving) which your ball can bounce off of.

Your paddle has a few tricks up its sleeve you won't see in Breakout, though. First, you can set the altitude to which the ball will bounce by pressing the up or down arrows, which thoretically allows you to make nifty shots, I guess. In practice I pretty much always set the altitude to maximum and didn't mess with it, since I had better things to worry about. Second, the game includes a "trajectory prediction" -- the game shows a dotted line showing the current trajectory of the ball and where it will bounce after hitting your paddle. The trajectory prediction won't work at the edges of the screen, and it completely ignores any walls in the path, so it's not 100% accurate, but it obviously gives you a much better idea of where your ball will go. Thirdly, you're also given a limited amount of slow motion, which (obviously) slows the ball down so you can more carefully line up your shot. The slow motion gauge refills over time, so it's difficult to run out unless you use it continuously for a long period of time.

The graphics are in bright colors on a black background, and the music is a generic techno, giving the game an overall futuristic feel which is not bad. However, the simple fact is that all of the additions make the game rather easy -- I had no problems getting through the whole game (and earning 50 points in badges! See the below rant) on my first try. And really, there aren't enough changes from the basic formula to make this a game with lasting replay value. It's fun once, but not a game I have a burning desire to go back to.

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