Chillingo certainly love their 2D physics-based puzzlers. We've thrown ninja stars, cut ropes to release prehistoric balls, dragged a rope to save some birds and rolled a ravenous spherical panda after ice lollies to mention but a few. Now it's time to guide some basketballs to their hoops with gravity, street smarts and an entire warehouse full of building supplies. Here we go again.
And we couldn't be happier. Physics puzzles are perfectly suited to the iPhone's capabilities, and Backyard Bounce is another clear example of why the genre has plenty more to give.
Essentially, each 2D level of Backyard Bounce resembles a half-finished game of Mousetrap. A basketball needs to end up in its hoop, but to get it there, you'll need to place and rotate a whole manner of ramps, balls, springboards, dominoes and other design elements onto the screen. You can't control the ball directly, so working out how best to arrange your limited objects becomes a satisfying of trial and error.
You'll gain points by using as few object as possible from your inventory - pleasingly, each level can be completed in several different ways - and managing to pick up three whistles that are squared away in develish places. Multiple attempts and tinkering around with your setup doesn't affect your score, so experimentation and imaginative repositioning becomes the order of the day.
The thrill of finally placing a spring, ramp and bowling ball in just the right place to make an improbable jump has to be experienced to be believed. And there are enough levels to make you experience it many, many times.
My major criticism of Backyard Bounce is fairly fundamental, and could have been cleared up with a little QA. Even though many levels have to be attempted countless times in order to tweak your contraptions, there's no fast forward option. Having to watch umpteen near-identical runs just to slightly reposition your final springboard is a major annoyance, and one that should have been spotted from the off.
Backyard Bounce also falls prey to a couple of typical app store annoyances: mainly the repetitive music, sound design and slightly rough-around-the-edges production values. But when it plays this well, I frankly couldn't care less.
- Satisfying and cerebral puzzling
- Multiple solutions make for massive replayability
- Great value
- Desperately needs a fast forward button
- Repetitive sound design and soundtrack
Summary: Backyard Bounce is clever, engaging and brilliant fun. A near-perfect timewaster.
Developer: Chaywow Games
Compatibility: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. Requires iOS 3.0 or later.
Price: £0.69 - App Store