Guys, if you’re looking for an expert opinion on Balloon 27’s Hill Bill, let me tell you: you’ve come to the right place.
See, looking at the global leaderboard at the time of writing, yours truly is in second place. Best in the woooooooooorld! Ok, second best, but that’s still pretty good, no?
Hill Bill (as in hillbilly, get it?) is billed as a “motorcycle trick jumping game”, and with the action scrolling from left to right, the aim is simply to hit the ramp on the left and safely land on the ramp on the right. Right?
It’s largely a case of judging your speed; you can pull Bill back before tapping start to get a longer run at the ramp, and make sure you’re not pulling off any tricks as you land or you’ll die. Or fail, at least.
Speaking of tricks, successfully pulling them off gets you stars, with three stars up for grabs in each level. There are a couple of tricks doable at ground level, while progressing unlocks fancier in-air tricks that demand increasingly complex swipe combinations.
The obligatory shop makes an appearance in Hill Bill, too, though it doesn’t appear that the array of bikes and outfits make much difference – other than changing the aesthetics.
The action plays out across 60 levels and six environments, with the initial jumps humbly taking place in Hill Bill’s backyard, climaxing in a death-defying leap across the Grand Canyon.
And that’s Hill Bill in its entirety. Clearly it’s not very deep, but is it any good?
Well, yes. I’ll start with a small handful of criticisms before ending on a high.
Other than judging your speed (here that’s essentially the distance between you and the ramp before you hit start), there’s not much involved as far as skill goes. It might’ve been nice to be able to adjust the angle of your landing, or maybe tackle multiple ramps in one run.
And how about some stats for the bikes? Maybe top speed, acceleration, responsiveness (in terms of trickery)…
Another minor gripe is the inability to pinch to zoom. Instead, Hill Bill demands that you scroll left and right to analyse the jump before setting off.
But leaving those minor complaints to the side, Hill Bill is – somehow – hugely enjoyable. I wasn’t overly enamoured at first, but by the time I nailed that leap over the Grand Canyon, I absolutely had to go back and get three stars in every level.
And heck, why wouldn’t you want to jump through exploding barrels while pulling a Jesus Christ pose? Brilliant.
- Six varied environments
- Decent array of tricks
- The sense of progress
- Not a great deal of skill involved in the jumps
- Would benefit from additional depth in the shop system
- It’s fairly short (maybe three hours to three-star everything)
Summary: Sometimes games are technically great but not particularly enjoyable. With Balloon 27’s Hill Bill it’s very much the opposite case; a simple and modest little game is somehow hugely endearing. Jump over some things, pull some tricks, the end.
Developer: Balloon 27
Price: £1.49 @ App Store
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPod touch (3rd generation), iPod touch (4th generation), iPod touch (5th generation) and iPad. Requires iOS 4.3 or later. This app is optimized for iPhone 5.