Another week goes by and yet another 2D platformer steps up and attempts to be the next big thing. If there was ever a genre that’s over-saturated, it’s this one right here, no thanks to titles such as Bounce Rescue! This is a game that not only feels out of place on a console, but each and every moment with it will do little more than to emphasize the fact that this title would be better suited on handheld or mobile. The story centers around the invasion of one Evil Devil that has landed on earth with the intention of taking over the planet. This is where Bounce Rescue! comes in, a team that will do anything to protect the earth.
Unsurprisingly, Evil Devil kidnaps a bunch of team members and it falls to the remain members to band together, save their friends and then save the planet. It’s your every day cut and paste platforming story, made all the more dull due to the lack of consistency and energy. In fact, good luck to you if you can summarize this plot from the game alone, I had to go out of my way and read the Xbox Store description to get even this. That hardly speaks volumes for Bounce Rescue! when players get more story from two paragraphs of text, rather than from the experience itself. What follows on is equally as half-baked as that.
Gameplay typically consists of bouncing from platform to platform, bopping enemies on the noggin with your baseball bat, collecting keys, items and coins, and taking on the occasional boss. That’s about as in-depth as the game gets. It doesn’t help matters that the combat is about as deep as a raindrop in the Sahara. Enemy movement typically amounts to nothing more than following their short scripted path, left and right, regardless as to whether you challenge them or not. They’re not even hard to kill, simply due to the overly generous stun that’s in place as soon as you smack them once or twice. I found myself bypassing them completely, save the ones that were purposely placed in path of a key.
Keys are dotted around the map and must be collected to open doors that gate progression. It’s a boring design choice and one that only serves to annoy the hell out of its players. To top it off, keys are never truly hard to locate. They often float in plain sight either at the top of the screen, or at the end of a path that has a singular enemy patrolling its vicinity. I would be more willing to forgive the game of its sloppy design if it wasn’t for the tedious control. That’s right, Bounce Rescue! can’t even nail a fluid control system. Instead, the system in place will only hamper the progression you’re trying to make. Movement and platforming remains far too floaty and clunky to be overlooked, leading to several unnecessary failed attempts.
Mercifully the game comes with a generous checkpoint system to begin with, which I can only imagine is in place to alleviate frustrations with the controls, seeing that each and every level doesn’t at all take long to complete. The game also comes with environmental hazards that tend to end your life if you so much as touch them, further adding a layer of rage-inducing tendencies to the gameplay. Later on, however, these checkpoints become fewer and further between, which heightens and emphasizes the annoying overarching poor development. Outside of collecting keys, each level also houses gem shards and coins. Though, unless you’re forgiving enough to attempt for high scores and extra health (respectively), there’s little reason to chase after these.
If that isn’t enough to bore you, the game’s visuals and character models will get the job done quickly. Bounce Rescue! offers up a handful of worlds to take to, each offering a set number of levels within. However, even the worlds look dull, bland and uninviting. This game just has very little going for it, especially if you’re a fan of Super Meat Boy or Bleed, and enjoy a good selection of depth as far as the environments and gameplay goes. I’d like to suggest that this game has a target audience that’s aimed at the younger player, but to consider this, the gameplay would need to be forgiving enough to keep child players fixated, which Bounce Rescue! fails miserably at executing. It’s fair to say that, at best, Bounce Rescue! is an underdeveloped waste of hard drive space.
I dare say that the only reason to play this game would be for the additional multiplayer modes. Sure, the game allows for local co-op through the story mode, but a second player wont save the game from its shoddy outlook. The versus, on the other hand, is much more engaging. There’s a total of three modes on offer; Capture the Flag, Deathmatch and Survive. These singular isolated modes provided more fun than the entirety of the campaign. Is this enough to invest? Not quite, no. There are far better games available on the Xbox One that will get this job done as well as offering up a solid campaign and heaps of replay value. Bounce Rescue! would have better if the controls were fluid, the enemies were challenging, and there was more diversity thrown in. Sadly, as it stands, the end result is far from commendable, or even passable.
Bounce Rescue! is yet another 2D platformer that fails miserably to relay a worthwhile adventure. The controls are far from precise, the enemy variation is poor and the world design is bland and repetitive. This all goes hand in hand to produce a frustrating experience that spends far too much time annoying the player. Despite the fun multiplayer modes, Bounce Rescue! isn’t worth your time and attention.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox One. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version.