Have you ever wished that you could wield the power of the stoic and unemotional bouncer, deciding who gets into the exclusive clubs and who’ll be spending their evening on the couch? Australian development studio 5th World Media’s debut iPhone game, Bouncer Boot Out puts you in charge of the door. You must make split second decisions of who gets in and who goes home.
A constant flow of club-goers stream toward the door of your establishment (almost as if they were on a conveyor belt) and you must use your finger to flick away the lame ones who would destroy your club’s reputation, while being careful not to accidentally reject the hip patrons. You earn points for each patron you properly reject, but will lose points for incorrectly rejecting someone whom you should have let in. If you really want to rack up the points, there is a bit of strategy involved. Instead of simply flicking out rejects one by one, you can swipe them to switch patron’s positions in line and boot out several patrons at once to earn combo points.
You start out as the bouncer of a small club, appropriately called Da Klub, keeping an eye out for a small variety of riffraff and as your cumulative total of points goes up, you’ll unlock additional clubs, eventually working your way up to the 6th club called manabar. Subsequent clubs have increased difficulty, adding both to the number of different types of patrons you need to boot out and increasing the speed at which the line of patrons moves. This means you’re reaction time will need to improve if you want to keep up. There is no requirement to play the more difficult levels to unlock the next, as I mentioned earlier, it’s based solely on the total number of points earned.
Bouncer Boot Out offers two different games modes, Timed and Survival. In Timed Mode, you are given 90 seconds with which to score the highest score possible, but the game will end early if you either let in a child or make three mistakes (this occurs either by letting in a lame person or booting someone who should be allowed into the club). Survival Mode plays pretty much the same way, except there is no time limit and you try to go as long as possible without messing up 3 times (or letting in a child).
The cell-shaded caricature style artwork that 5th World Media chose for the game is where Bouncer Boot Out really shines. The game features over 30 unique characters from the comic strip which they also produce and which is accessible via the game. There is some nice club music that plays in the background as well which adds to the ambiance. The game play can be frantic and fun at times, especially when you play the later clubs where things get hectic rather quickly, but the main issue that I had was the lack of any sort of global leaderboards or achievements, really left me with little reason to continue playing after unlocking all of the clubs other than trying to improve my own (local) scores. It only took about 30 to 40 minutes of playing to unlock all of the clubs. Fortunately I have spoken to the development team at 5th World Media and they have plans to add OpenFeint and Game Center support in the near future. It’d be nice to see something added to help vary gameplay, or make each of the games’ six clubs a bit more unique. Perhaps adding special power ups like a megaphone or some unique gameplay element to each club would help.
Bouncer Boot Out contains rather nice visuals and music along with fun and sometimes frantic game play, but unfortunately its current lack of global leaderboards and/or achievements limits replayability. It is still a nice debut effort by the team at 5th World Media, but I just don’t think it has quite reached its potential and I am anxious to see where the team takes the game in future updates. For many, this may very well be the closest thing you’ll experience to actually being a bouncer, especially if you are like me and are probably more likely to be on the receiving end of a Bouncer’s boot.