Bouncy Bob

Welcome to the very bottom of the barrel on Nintendo Switch. Bouncy Bob is currently #1 on the eShop sales chart for digital download exclusives and #4 overall, with only the new Pokemon Let’s Go games and Smash Bros. Ultimate’s pre-order outselling it. By the way, what kind of sad, sad person pre-orders a digital download if it’s not discounted or doesn’t come with some kind of pre-order bonus? Yes, you get Piranha Plant’s DLC for free with the digital copy, but you get that even if you pay for it any time before January 31, 2019. You don’t need to reserve your digital copy. It ain’t going to sell out, on release day, ya fricken morons. Hell, I wouldn’t be surprised if their servers fill up and you have to wait a long time for it to download, so the joke’s on you for being so excited that you need to preorder a fucking digital game. I don’t get gamers sometimes. I’ve had six people tell me Smash Bros. Ultimate is their game of the year of 2018 and they haven’t even played it yet. I can’t imagine why people think Nintendo fans are all overgrown children. Truly it is gaming’s greatest mystery.

Anyway, Bouncy Bob is selling like a hotcakes, if those hotcakes also dispensed blowjobs. If you’re fretting that you somehow missed the new hot-shit fad on the scene and are scrambling to establish your indie cred by fumbling through the eShop as we speak, don’t worry. The reason Bouncy Bob is #1 is because it cost a whopping fourteen cents for about a month, a discount price that ended yesterday. I decided to hold off on posting this review until today so nobody would stop at $0.14 and say “OH MY GOD, I GOTTA GO GET IT!” Going off the Mega Fruit Gum principle I established for Super Duper Flying Genocide 2017 (which you’ll remember as the game I scored 329 achievements in span of 43 minutes on Steam), Bouncy Bob costs 18.6% of a single Mega Fruit (assuming I find a machine that sells them for 75¢ instead of a buck). After playing it for a few hours, I can honestly say I would have been better off scouring sidewalks looking for sixty-one dropped pennies so I could afford the gum. Bouncy Bob might be the worst game I’ve ever played.

Rare is it that I realize I’m in for a terrible day during the tutorial. For Bob, I knew it by time I attempted my third jump.

So the idea is you’re a shadow that looks more like the obese, homeless cousin of Mr. Game & Watch. You’re placed in an arena with various enemies that you must defeat by bouncing on their heads. But, instead of traditional hopping ‘n bopping, all movement is done with a meter that bounces left and right that you must time to sort of fling yourself around the stage, hopefully on top of the baddies. You can also flap your arms to help get a bit more height and distance. Everything is done with a single button, and that’s when I realized I was playing a quick cash-in port of a mobile game. The sense of dread that overcame me was almost shouted down by a faint voice that tried to remind me of how good Jack ‘N Jill DX was. It was a mobile port, priced to move, and it was pretty sweet. And then I started playing it, and the that voice was immediately curb stomped.

The mechanics are just not practical for the type of arcadey-action game it wants to be. The amount of super-obvious mistakes, all of which could easily be corrected with some patchwork, stick out like a sore thumb. Touching enemies causes damage, but you don’t blink. Enemies tend to bunch up, and since you have no direct movement over Bob, it takes time to let the meter fill up and point you in a safe direction. You take damage the entire time, and without the ability to move, you can go from full health to no health relatively fast. The enemies actually can interrupt your momentum too. You deflect off them, so once you get stuck in a group of them (and that’s basically all the enemies do: bunch-up), it’s not as simple as charging up your jump and escaping. It just doesn’t work the way I assume the developer wanted it to. Ironically, the cheapest non-free-to-play game I’ve ever reviewed at IGC is insanely cheap in pejorative sense as well.

I’d say the game looks fine at least, but the collision detection is a bit wonky and enemies and projectiles don’t stand out enough. Plus the dark graphics on some stages make overall visualization a chore. Man, Bouncy Bob really doesn’t do anything right. It’s kind of remarkable.

And that’s just the start of the problem. The enemies just sort of meander about, and if you go down to the lowest level to attempt to pounce on them, they’ll rain down on you from their spawn point. If you try to escape, you could bounce off their feet and get trapped below. If they throw projectiles, you REALLY don’t have enough time or room to escape almost any situation. Remember, you don’t get any temporary invincibility when you get hit, so even running away is likely to result in you dying. And the collision detection is so bad that, because the enemies cluster, you can be killing one while taking damage just by being next to another.

By the third stage, they start flinging bombs at you that have a pretty wide explosion range and are a one-shot instakill no matter how far you are you are from the detonation point, just so long as you’re “inside” the blast radius. Clearing stages requires you to kill X amount of enemies, but the enemies can also kill each other with their bombs. It removes a lot of the strategy involved and reduces victory down to dumb luck because the bombs have too short of fuses and when you swoop in to attack, the gang of enemies is just as likely to die at their own hands, which you don’t get credit for. The problem is there’s nothing fast-paced about movement, but Bouncy Bob wants to be a fast-paced action game. That’s like wanting your child to be a basketball star and going about it by cutting his feet off.

There is literally not a single aspect of Bouncy Bob that I found enjoyable. The physics tend to feel a bit light, and I often simply tumbled off a ledge that I really should have stuck the landing on. You can be killed by your own bombs if you touch the item box for them, which scatters three of them onto the playfield with zero ability to aim them. If you end up clustered with enemies AND bombs, you’re good as dead since grazing the enemies while attempting to jump screws your momentum up. I don’t know if I would say Bouncy Bob feels broken, because “lazy” or “unfinished” seem more accurate. The one brief glimmer of hope I had was that playing multiplayer would make the objective more doable, but multiplayer is an entirely different formula. A versus mode, where players have to jump on each other. I literally couldn’t convince a single member of my family to even finish one round of it with me. It’s that boring.

This is where I quit. It’s only the third level. To anyone who defends this tripe and says I didn’t put enough time into it, I’d like to point out that buying a game entitles me to have an opinion on that game. If you buy a product and it sucks, you are allowed to publicly bitch about that product, you know? Bouncy Bob sucks. Here, you have to deal with bombs that have a large damage range (in a game where movement is anything but quick), with spikes on walls next to portals (as if the game wasn’t unfair enough) and awful physics. I put over an hour into this level and couldn’t finish it. Call me unskilled all you want. It’s not my fault the game is crap.

I put in nearly two hours spread over three days trying to find something nice to say about Bouncy Bob, and I couldn’t. Hell, I couldn’t even beat the third stage. I tried every method, from playing conservative and waiting sometimes several minutes for what looked like I had a clearing to take out multiple enemies and escape to playing super aggressive and throwing caution to the wind. Nothing worked, because the game just plain is not designed in a sensible way. There’s really no defense against the bad guys or their projectiles. It makes me wonder how much time the developers needed to finish their own game, or if they ever stopped to ask themselves what exactly was fun about it? It has an air of cynicism about it. That someone felt this was a quality game worthy of the marketplace. It’s not at any price. It’s the worst game I’ve ever played on any Nintendo platform.

For anyone out there dense enough to say “what did you expect for fourteen cents?” I’ll remind you that there’s some incredible free to play games out there. Price shouldn’t change how much fun you’re having with a game. If it does, that says more about what you value than it does about the quality of a game. Bouncy Bob is back up to its $1 price tag, but it’s terrible at any price. If it was free, it wouldn’t be worth the time or space it would use up. So bad is Bouncy Bob that I had to make a new rule at IGC. From this point forward, I’m done playing no-effort ports of mobile games. My time would be better spent on games tailored for platforms. Bouncy Bob feels like a cash grab, and the fact that its $0.14 ploy worked to the degree it did actually makes me kind of mad. Because, for a lot of people, Bob will be the first impression of what a low-price indie game is. And those people might decide that it’s representative of all low-cost indies. What a horrible thing to do. It’d be like saying Kanye West is an example of what everyone with the last name “West” is like. That’d make Adam West spin in his grave to such a degree that you could connect a power generator to it and end our energy crisis.

Bouncy Bob was developed by All Those Moments
Point of Sale: Nintendo Switch

$0.14 (normally $1) said TOO MUCH in the making of this review.

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