If there is one genre I absolutely relish on the iDevice platform, it’s physics-based puzzle games…I just can’t seem to get enough of them! My latest addiction is a wonderful port of Utopian Games’ Bumps, which I thoroughly enjoyed on the PC. While the portable version is nearly half the length (level-wise) of it’s PC predecessor, the game has been very faithfully reproduced complete with a few upgrades that make the game controls perfectly suited for your iDevice.
Alien invaders have imprisoned the cute, bubbly-eyed Bumps and it’s up to you to rescue them by placing your bumps strategically on the screen, so when you press “GO!”, they fall, roll and bounce their way to the keys. If the “bumps” successfully capture all of their like-colored keys below, they’ll unlock all of the locks, rescuing the imprisoned bumps and beating the level. At the end of each level you are awarded a gold, silver or bronze medal depending on how many attempts it took you to complete it. The touchscreen replaces the mouse and is a completely intuitive control scheme for this type of game. One particularly nice addition to the iPhone version of the game, is a toggle-able zoom feature which magnifies the screen once you touch a bump, allowing for much more specific and accurate placement of the bumps.
The game features 54 standard levels along with 9 unlockable mini games including Bump Breakout, Bump Air Hockey, Bump Pinball and more. Bumps is a game that is approachable for players of all ages and skill levels. Although, this means that for the most part, the difficulty-level of the puzzles does lean a bit toward the easier end of the scale, but don’t worry, there are still quite a few tricky and downright maddening ones in the mix which require some decent accuracy and thought to pull off successfully, especially if you want a shot at earning gold.
Now, I must admit that I got a bit nervous when I saw the Game Salad logo at startup. This development tool, while fairly impressive, is still going through some growing pains and on many Game Salad-developed games I’ve noticed some performance issues and particularly long load times. I’m happy to say that while playing on an iPhone 4, I only noticed the occasional graphical hiccup or glitch, and the wait time at the very start and between sets of levels, while perhaps a slight bit longer than I would’ve hoped, was where near what I’ve seen in previous Game Salad-developed games. Perhaps the folks at Game Salad (or Utopian Games) have done a bit of optimizing.
While Utopian Games has done a great job of keeping very faithful to the original Bumps, there were a couple of things that I miss from the PC version. Specifically the “growing bumps” (dropped for technical reasons) and the fact that the initial placement of your bumps from the last attempt remained for your next attempt, allowing you to make minor tweaks for your next try. Unfortunately in the iPhone version, you’ll have to start from scratch on each attempt. On the particularly difficult leveles, this can be quite frustrating as you see your chances for gold quickly fade away while trying to remember the exact spot from which you made your last attempt. Fortunately, the developer has assured me that they are already working toward implementing this functionality in a future version.update. That being said, the only other thing that gave me a bit of trouble, was being able to clearly distinguish between which platforms would react in a “see-saw” fashion and those that were fixed. While crystal clear in the PC version, the smaller graphics on the iPhone made them a bit tougher to distinguish. For your reference, the see-saw have dotted circles.
I really enjoyed Bumps on the PC and Utopian Games has done a great job not only bringing that same experience to the iPhone, but has actually expanded and enhanced it with some new tweaks and the inclusion of nine all-new minigames. These minigames are a nice little addition to the game, offering bit of mindless fun. The cute, colorful and cheery graphics coupled with a whimsical soundtrack make for an enjoyable experience for players of all ages. Hardcore physics-based puzzle players may find the game to be a little too easy, but those just getting into the genre, or who like a more casual-style game will find Bumps to be a pleasurable experience. While perhaps a little shorter than I would have liked, Utopian Games has informed me that if initial sales are good, then more levels will be on the way. So now it’s time you pony up the 99¢ and start saving some Bumps.