iPhone and iPad apps can be so, so good and a fantastic way to pass your time when you are bored. The apps can also make you regret ever having purchased, downloaded, opened or played them. With Bouncing Birds, the latter was unfortunately true.
Bouncing Birds, developed by Rodrigo Perez via the Game Salad website, is what appears to be a slight nod to Angry Birds but do not let the similarities fool you. While Angry Birds has been one of the largest mobile app successes of all time, Bouncing Birds is not. While Angry Birds is a fun and addictive way to spend your time, Bouncing Birds is not.
The premise of Bouncing Birds is to shoot your angry-faced round ball of a bird toward these mad looking red circles in the hopes that you blow them up to earn stars. You are given a certain number of chances and the fewer tries it takes, the more stars you earn.
Sounds a lot like Angry Birds, doesn’t it?
There is a difference here folks… Not only are you choosing the direction that your angry-faced round ball of a bird is going but now you also need to coordinate the speed based on this round circle that appears around your angry-faced round ball of a bird.
See what they did there? They added a speed circle.
Bouncing Birds falls short in many areas.
The first area is the lack of instruction via built-in tutorials. Most apps walk you through the process when you first load up the game. You know, “First do this, then do this and YAY you are a PRO at this game! We’ve never seen ANYONE as awesome as you are! Please continue!” Instead, Bouncing Birds just loads up the game and you are left to figure it out on your own and when you fail, which you will because the first level is way more difficult than it should be, you will want to close the app instantly and wish you had never spent money on it.
For example (and let’s hope that Rodrigo Perez is taking notes), the game should tell you that the angry-faced bouncing bird ball WILL bounce off of the top of your screen even if the top of your screen is sky and not an object. You see, Bouncing Birds defies all of the laws of physics and even though your mind will tell you, “I can bounce this face off of the tree branch here and the ground but not the endless sky above”, your mind is WRONG.
(Reviewer’s side note: so, I totally just looked up the game in the app store for the description, which I always do after a review so as to avoid tainting my own writing, and they define their game as including “challenging game play and physics-based puzzles.” Physics-based? Yikes.)
Let’s go back to the difficulty level because this is another major area where the game bombs. No one wants to play a game where the first level makes you feel like you are back in 1988 playing Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders without your airport codes. One way to get people to stop playing your game immediately is to make them feel like they are anything less than a gaming superstar. Bouncing Birds does that AND will make you question ever picking up another video game ever again.
The app also needs more engaging and exciting music added to the background of the levels while you play and it absolutely needs an automatic sleep timer built into it. As of now, the app will remain on for… well, ever unless you close the app yourself. Not a great feature for the easily distracted who pop into a game and then go grab a sandwich or take their dog for a walk.
Not Everyone Can (or Should) Create a Game
Although this app is not an app that meets expectations, it may not be entirely Rodrigo Perez’s fault. You see, Game Salad (the website that assisted the creation of this game) is a website whose tagline is, “Game creation for everyoneTM” and let us clarify something for the record: no it ain’t.
Designers who have experience in thinking through the logical process of game play and who understand the psyche of the target market playing the game should design apps. Everyone else should simply step aside and enjoy said games. Otherwise, you end up with something resembling Bouncing Birds.