Saturday, December 17, 2011

Crazy Bomber - 0.99 (Joytouch)

Bomberman is one of my all time favorite games. I can remember staying up all night at my best friends house when I was about 8, taking turns playing Bomberman on the NES. Luckily, buying back bits and pieces of your childhood is extremely easy these days, especially within the AppStore. If you can’t find a game you sunk weeks, months, or even years into as a child, it’s almost guaranteed that you’ll be able to find a game almost exactly like it. Here is where JayTouch Network’s game, Crazy Bomber, comes in to play. Though there isn’t a shortage of Bomberman and Bomberman influenced games in the AppStore, it’s definitely not a game that has been cloned to death, and finding a game influenced by an old favorite can sometimes prove to be an extremely great thing as it might include loads of new mechanics and gameplay ideas expanded from the original it’s influenced by.

Starting up Crazy Bomber, there are two different gameplay types; Story Mode, and Battle Mode. Story Mode includes 60 levels spread across 3 different environments; Jungle, Graveyard, Glacier, and then each having a more difficult set of levels, so really, there’s 6 different worlds. Each stage has a 3 star ranking available, and is based on score. Getting 3 stars can be pretty challenging as well, most of the time requiring multiple play-thoughs. There are also 4 different characters you can choose to play with; Vampire, Zombie, Wizard, and Knight, none of which have any special abilities, and are only there for purely aesthetic purposes, but I will admit that it’s nice being able to pick between different characters.
Once you start playing, you’ll notice that it’s basically just like Bomberman, though it also expands on the gameplay. You’ll need to place bombs to destroy enemies and level objects, like trees, shrubs, and boxes. Blowing up these objects, trees, boxes, ect, will almost always provide extra bombs, though there are some speed power-ups and coins scattered throughout as well. At the beginning of each level, you are only able to place one bomb at a time, but as you collect bombs throughout the level, you’ll be able to place two, three, or more bombs at a time. As you collect bombs, the strength of each explosion will increase, making it easier to take out enemies across the screen. You are also able to link bombs together, placing one in the path of another’s explosion causes a domino like effect. As you progress through the game, you’ll come across crate moving puzzles, conveyor belts, and even boss fights at the end of each world.
The Battle Mode is unlockable as you progress through the game, but there is no indication as to what unlocks it. Whether it be how many stars you‘ve collected, or after completing world 3, it will unlock about half-way through the game. Battle Mode is a local ‘multiplayer’ type gameplay mode, putting you against upto 3 other AI opponents. It does add to the gameplay, but feels a bit hollow
There is a shop accessible from the level select screen, which lets you purchase health potions as well as remote detonated bombs, which you can buy with the coins earned in-game. There are no IAPs, which is always nice, so no worries about the game difficulty being geared towards getting more money out of you.
Controls in the game are simple, and work very well. A joystick for movement, a button for placement of a bomb, and health and timed bombs are available along the right side of the screen. The movement is tight and responsive, and bombs snap to position, so placing a bomb exactly where you want is very easy, even when moving around quickly.
The graphics in Crazy Bomber are very polished, with each of the levels having wonderful design. The character models and animations are impressive, as are the explosions of each of the different types of bombs. Movement is extremely smooth, with no lag or drops in frame-rate even with multiple explosions going off at once. It would be nice to see some attack animations for when you run into enemies, instead of just seeing your character flash a bit, but not having any attacking animations for the enemies isn‘t necessarily anything that takes away from the gameplay. The HUD is a little messy. The different types of bombs, as well as how many of them you have, how much gold you’ve got, the number of enemies killed out of how many are in the level, as well as how many trees are left to blow up, your score, the pause button, and a picture of your character above the health are all thrown in along the top of your screen. Being able to tell exactly how many bombs you have can sometimes be frustrating. Aside from this, the amount of detail in the levels, objects like trees, bushes, enemies, and everything else is very professionally done.
For $0.99, Crazy Bomber is a fantastic Bomberman influenced game. There’s plenty of content, loads of replayability with the 3 star rankings, which is increased by the inclusion of the GameCenter leaderboard. However, there are no achievements, which is something I’m sure a lot of gamers would love to see added in the future. One thing that the developers have said is coming in a future update is multiplayer. This is where the game will really take off, as to have a real Bomberman type experience, it’s a feature that is desperately needed. Hopefully it’ll be added soon, but until then, there is plenty of gameplay to keep you busy. Crazy Bomber is definitely a game that Bomberman fans as well as arcade junkies should pick up.


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