Ratalaika Games are back with yet another easy-G game, but, with so many hit and miss titles under their belt, is this one of the former, or the latter? Wasting no time, Bouncy Bullets sits somewhere in between; it’s fun, somewhat unrefined, but it works. Those of you that found some value in the likes of Lovely Planet will feel right at home here, and to some degree, this plays in exactly the same sort of fashion, give or take a few mechanics. There’s not much to talk about in regards to the story, because there’s not much of one present.
From the main menu, you’re free to select from either normal levels, and special levels; the latter being tougher, more complicated versions of the normal levels. these often come crammed with more enemies, more hazards, and other like-minded additions to add a kick to the proceedings. You’ll see from the level selection screen that there’s a star rank in place, being that you’ll be awarded a number of stars per-level, based on your performance. It’s all relatively straightforward stuff to be fair, which is kind of the game’s main drawback.
Players take on the role of a nameless character, and, armed with a gun and the ability to platform, you must make it through a small handful of worlds, each of which consists of a small handful of levels. The crux of play throughout is to make it from your starting point, right through to the level’s end portal, which takes you from that level to the next. Each level, on a fluid run at least, tends to last no longer than a few seconds per-whack, with the lengthiest of levels sitting somewhere in the minute range. Like I said, it’s nice and easy.
The first thing that will take your attention is the game’s vibrancy. Seriously, the amount of varying, bright colors on show is a spectacle, and easily one of the game’s greatest points. It helps, of course, that the developer has been able to toy with this design choice, making for a game that seems, at a glance, out of this world. It’s not, mind, due to its few issues, but visually speaking, it certainly ticks a lot of boxes. I’ll also point out that, despite being a first-person shooter/platformer, this Bouncy Bullets is one that’s fit for just about any age group.
In fact, that being said, the game seems as though its target audience is that of the younger gamer. Bouncy Bullets sports some very child-esque themes; levels made up of toy houses, levels made up of large swirling pink oceans with ice creams floating nearby, and other similar additions. It’s very eye catching, that much has to be said. I’ll also commend the audio design to some degree, being that it serves up ques and a score that fits right in with its overall presentation. Bottom line? Although not award worthy, it’s a good looking game.
Back to the point; start a level, then get to the level’s portal to move to the next. Whilst that sounds simple enough on paper, in practice, it can be quite tricky. Not just because of the game’s somewhat inconsistent difficulty, but because of its floaty, at times unresponsive handling. I wanted to point this out first and foremost, because for anything first-person, and indeed anything with platforming functionality, handling is of paramount importance. It was a shame to see Bouncy Bullets slightly lacking in this regard, feeling quite unrefined overall.
The problem this creates is that when jumping platforms, bouncing on jump pads, or even trying to land in very tight spots, the loose handling makes a habit of overcompensating your command, leading to cheap deaths and failures as a result. The second problem this doesn’t sit too well with is the fact that the game has a tendency of fluctuating its difficulty. Several times I found myself running a level with no trouble whatsoever, only to find that the next was mighty tough, but followed by a few more very simple to complete levels.
This inconsistency is far from ideal, and only goes to hurt the game in the long run. This is especially true when playing the special levels, which as aforementioned, usually offer up slightly different (but much tougher) variations of the normal levels. Don’t get me wrong, one of these issues are deal breakers, but it goes without saying that Bouncy Bullets would have been a much better experience if it housed more of a sturdier structure across the board. With that to the side, and overlooking its slight lack of depth, there’s little to scoff at.
Bouncy Bullets, for its cost, is well worth your time and attention. Hell, if you’re just here to mop up achievements, you cant go wrong either; you’ll earn all of them within thirty minutes. The game is goofy, but it’s fun when everything works as intended, and it’s clear that it’s not trying to be anything but precisely that. Much like (the also colorful) Lovely Planet, each level sees you bouncing from platforms, outmaneuvering deadly hazards, blasting enemies, and maintaining a decent pace until you come to the level’s end portal.
The kicker, however, is that enemies can only be killed in specific ways. Your gun can shoot pink blobs, and yellow blobs, both of which are tethered to alternate triggers on the controller. Should you see a pink enemy, shoot it with a pink blob. Should you see a yellow enemy, shoot it with a yellow blob. Sounds simple enough, right? Well, things get more complex later in; enemies that swap colors on the fly, black enemies that can only be killed by bouncing a shot from the floor, hostage characters you need to avoid killing, and more.
I’ll say as much about level complexity too, being that the level’s tend to throw more interesting hazards at you as progress is made. Starting out, you’ll merely only worry about not falling off the platforms to your doom, but before long, you’ll be juggling heaps of varying dangers. This includes the likes of lasers, guillotine, booby traps, and so on and so forth. The game certainly knows how to keep you on your toes, but even at its hardest and most complex, it’s still rather simple by framework, which may not well be for everyone’s taste.
The bottom line in all of this? If you’re looking for a fairly casual shooter that houses platforming elements, and a decent amount of replay value, this one is for you. If, on the other hand, you seek depth and mechanical innovation, you may be let down. The cheap cost means that even if you don’t get on with it, you’re not breaking the bank; achievement hunters, enjoy. I’ve, despite its irritating problems, had a good time whilst playing, and although far from great, it’s an experience I can just about comfortably recommend.
Despite its lack of depth and its somewhat wonky handling, Bouncy Bullets isn’t half bad. The game sports quite a bit of content and a nice degree of replay value, but falls slightly flat in regards to its fluctuating difficulty curve. Still, for those looking for a Lovely Planet-like game that offers up silly, vibrant, and senseless fun, you cant really go wrong here.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox One. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version.Want to keep up to date with the latest Xt reviews, Xt opinions and Xt content? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.