Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Bonkheads HD - 2.99 (Around The Clock Games)

Bonkheads HD is a new platformer action game from Around The Clock Games. It’s a clone of the original Mario Brothers where you would knock the enemies over by hitting the blocks under them, then kick them off the screen. I use to play this version of Mario with my next door neighbor all the time when I was younger, and loved it. It’s great to see a clone of it available in the AppStore now, and Around The Clock Games has done an amazing job re-creating the game, as well as adding some of their own new mechanics and loads of enemies. In it, you’ll play as Grag or Thog, and stop the hordes of pests from invading your town of Trollsville. You can also play with a second player on the same device, which is awesome.

Now, in Bonkheads, there’s 144 levels spread out across 12 different environments, each with different enemies, friction, and gravity. There’s also 6 power-ups hidden in the platforms to help, and sometimes disrupt, your gameplay. As you progress, the game saves after each level, so if you loose a life in a stage, and want to play through that level again, hopefully not loosing a life your second or third time through, you can just go back to the level select screen, and play on from the last level you had all your lives in. This comes in handy especially when dealing with new enemies that have different mechanics to learn. If you get stuck on a certain level, you can always go into the Options Menu, and change the game difficulty from Normal to Easy, or crank it up to Hard if the game isn’t giving you enough challenge.
The controls in Bonkheads are great. You’re given the choice of having virtual controls, which are nice and tight, or invisible controls, swiping left and right on the left side of the screen, and touching the right side to jump. They both play pretty much the same, and are both very responsive and easy to use. The graphics are great, smooth and professional, along with nice animations for each platform you’ll bonk your head on, and each and every enemy, only adding to the professional look and feel of the whole game. Physics-wise, Bonkheads is great. It’s not floaty, and not weighed down, jumping feels nice, and the speed for your character and enemies is great. Turning is done easily, not needing to pick up your thumb, and the speed of your character is constant, never needing to hold in a certain direction and speed up in order to make a jump. The music and effects are also nice, fitting in nicely with the game, but you’re not able to keep the effects sounds while turning down the music.
Bonkheads is OpenFeint enabled, giving us 9 different leaderboards, and 33 achievements, helping to add tremendously to the replay value of the game. Also, the two-player gameplay is great fun, if you can get over the fact that it‘s in portrait mode, and each of you need to hold the device at the same time. This might cause some frustrating gameplay with both of you cramming your fingers onto the screen, and moving the device at the same time, it does work a lot better with an iPad though. If the two player was done over wi-fi, it would greatly enhance the idea, and make 2-player gameplay a lot more fun, especially if GameCenter was added, and you could be auto-matched, or play with GC friends. But this is really the only issue I can find with Bonkheads.
It’s given me back a little piece of my childhood by cloning one of my favorite games, and expanding on it, making one player gaming extremely fun. The professional look and feel of the game is great, and has made me very excited about where this game will go with future updates, as well as where Around The Clock Games is going to go with their next game. I will definitely be keeping my eyes on them for as long as they decide to put out iOS games. If you’re into plat formers - especially older 8 and 16 bit platformers, this is one game you should definitely get. Being Universal, $2.99 is a great price for tons of gameplay, and loads of leaderboards with plenty of replay value.

I’m giving Bonkheads HD 4.5 out of 5 stars.


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