Looking at the screenshots for Bouncy Bullets you’d be forgiven for thinking that Bouncy Bullets is just a pocket-money priced first person shooter. But as they say, first impressions can be very misleading as I soon found out when I loaded the game up…
Bouncy Bullets – Getting Started
Upon loading up and starting the game you’re presented with a choice of chapters. Each split into a number of levels. There’s no story so when you select the level you want to start on you’re thrown straight into the game. You’re presented with a glorious cel-shaded world, one of surreal colours. A blue sky, multicoloured landscapes, pink waters filled with floating ice cream… a world like nothing you have seen before.
Gameplay is simple enough. From the starting point you simple have to make it from there to the portal at the end of each level. On first impression it appears to be a straightforward 3D platform game, using the left analogue stick to move forwards, backwards and side-step left and right. The right stick looks around allowing you to change direction. The only issue here – and one that others have complained about – is that pushing up on the stick looks up and not down as you would expect from a first person shooter. There are no options to change this anywhere in the game so it takes a little getting used to.
On screen instructions appear as you play, as text floating above the ground so you learn that you need to press X to jump. Within a few seconds you quickly manage to navigate the first level and make your way to the exit. Things pick up when you reach the second stage when a weapon appears on screen. At this point you see where the game’s reputation for being a first person shooter comes in.
You Are Not Alone…
Populating some of the levels are carefully positioned creatures that fire at you blocking your path. To progress towards the portal these need to be destroyed. You start out with a single type of shot but as you move further through the game, different weapon types become available including bouncing bullets, hence the name of the game.
Additional game mechanics are introduced gradually including platforms that catapault you into the air, ground based hazards, and barriers that you need to get around, as well as creatures that you have to find scattered around each landscape. As you complete each stage you are awarded a star rating depending on how fast you complete it. The quicker you complete the level the more stars you are awarded. If you don’t achieve a three star rating, the time targets will be displayed so you’ll know how fast you’ll need to be to achieve them. This is a great way to encourage added replayability once you have completed all of the games 48 stages.
No Permadeath Here!
If you fall off a ledge, mis-time a jump, land on one of the many hazards or end up being shot then you fail a level. As with Paradox Soul there are no lives here. You just get the chance to try the level again from the start. Progress is saved automatically so you can come back to the game whenever you want and simply pick up where you left off and if you want to replay earlier levels, these can be selected from the main menu.
Visually the game is a delight. Cel shading hasn’t really been used a great deal in games for a while. It was all the rage when it first made an appearance back on the PS2 but it’s only been seen a handful of times for Vita games. Bouncy Bullets is the perfect vehicle for this style of graphics though – it helps keep the tone of the game light, bright and fun – which is exactly what the game is. What’s important when adopting this style is the speed and fluidity of the visuals, and they’re incredibly fast, smooth and seem to be glitch free with no signs of pop-up anywhere.
Sound is just as good. While the sound effects are quite basic, there are some great pieces of music playing throughout. These change as you progress through the levels so you’re not faced with listening to the same track repeatedly ad infinitum.
What really matters is how well Bouncy Bullets plays though. Despite the slight issue I mentioned earlier about the controls, it’s a fun platformer. It’s a game that offers plenty of freedom to be played any way you like – for those of you who just want to enjoy the game and see all the levels, you can take each one at a leisurely pace as you attempt to complete it. But for those of you aiming to get all the stars, it offers that speed run challenge making the game a bit more frantic and faster paced. It works equally well no matter what approach you take to the game so it offers something for all types of gamers.
Despite being frustrating at times, it’s an enjoyable and entertaining platform game. The levels are short enough to stop them from becoming tiresome while still offering enough of a challenge to stop you from racing through the entire game in a matter of minutes.
It’s not the biggest of games, with only 48 levels on offer, but at just £3.99 it’s superb value for money for the amount of time you’ll spend playing it. Even more so considering the fact that it’s another Cross Buy title, giving you both the PS Vita and PS4 versions for a single purchase. Once more, it’s another great release from Ratalaika.
At A Glance
- Title: Bouncy Bullets
- Publisher: Ratalaika
- System: PS Vita
- Format: PSN Download
- Cross Buy: Yes (PS4)
- Cross Save: No
- Cross Play: No
- Online Multiplayer: No
- Memory Card Space Needed: TBC
- PlayStation TV Compatible: Yes
Review copy provided by Ratalaika Games.