Game: Bouncy Mouse HD
Buy it now from the iTunes store: US / UK
Sure, Bouncy Mouse HD looks super adorable, what with its crisp and clean hand-drawn visuals, colorful art design, and predictably cute creature designs. But this interesting fling-centric platformer is deceptively devious, with a difficulty curve that quickly ramps up and leaves you cursing the buzzing bees that swarm you – and more specifically, the Bouncy Mouse himself. What gives, Bouncy Mouse? Perhaps we're overstating the challenge a bit, but what initially appeared to be just another cute casual affair ended up being a pretty decent original platformer that plays nearly as sharp as it looks.
In the 30 included stages (more are en route), you'll take control of the titular rodent as he attempts to traverse each obstacle-laded environment and make his way to the orange cartoon cat – which he'll promptly sucker punch in the name of sweet, delicious cheese. Unfortunately, the mouse cannot simply walk from point A to point B; he can, however, hang from suspended perches via his tail, leaving you with the responsibility of flinging him from location to location until he can rough up his feline nemesis. Other enemies and hazards line your path, and you'll have to aim smart and take advantage of various level features (like flat, reflective surfaces) to survive each challenge unscathed.
Admittedly, Bouncy Mouse reminds us of some other fling-and-bounce-based platformer we played some time back, but the title escapes us; more likely, this game simply blends a lot of different genre mechanics (especially from notable App Store favorites) to create something slightly familiar but ultimately fairly unique. Whatever the case, we like it – though there are times when it feels like you're relying on blind luck instead of skill, and we noticed a few instances where we'd get stuck against a wall in a wind tunnel and be stranded. It's bad form, but that latter bit will hopefully be fixed up shortly. Still, this attractive app offers up a stellar little experience with some intriguing moments and a smart asking price.
Game: WWE Superstar Slingshot for iPad
Buy it now from the iTunes store: US / UK
World Wrestling Entertainment's storylines always have their ups and downs, but for many pro wrestling buffs – particularly those that let their interest in the WWE slip in recent years – the recent CM Punk saga has been one of the best and most entertaining bits in years. Maybe that's why we decided to revisit WWE Superstar Slingshot, which launched on iPad earlier this summer and spawned a free, bite-sized WWE SummerSlam Slingshot version last month. This brutally obvious Angry Birds clone isn't a great substitute for that fowl-flinging sensation, nor is it one of the best knock-offs we've seen in the App Store. But it is a solid diversion – and the absurdity of the concept makes it strangely alluring.
Let's be clear, though: Superstar Slingshot is easily the most ridiculous pro wrestling game tie-in since 2003's laughable WWE Crush Hour. Each stage takes the form of a match, pitting your chosen fighter – with John Cena, Randy Orton, and The Undertaker in the mix – against one of several other notable pros. Doing so requires you to fling your wrestler from the ropes into an opponent, but in your path are various steel girders, barrels, and other hazards, plus you have just three shots to make contact and win the match. Unlike in Angry Birds, where your bird will continue crashing into things until it stops, your flung wrestler here stops being effective once it touches anything in the ring, making precise shots all the more crucial.
WWE Superstar Slingshot includes 135 stages spread across 15 events, spanning the wide range of annual pay-per-views (like Money in the Bank and Wrestlemania), and as expected, the stages become more complex as you progress on, with more elaborate barriers and even moving hazards coming into play. It doesn't have the same slick, polished feel to it as its clear "inspiration," and the fact that the fighters become useless following first contact is a frustrating decision for sure. But if you love pro wrestling and all the curious little extensions of the WWE brand, Superstar Slingshot does deliver decent entertainment – much like the "real-life" fights themselves.
Aug 20, 2011
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