Review: Bump Out
I like puzzle games, so when there's one that feels like a nice twist on a good concept (in this case a mix of clearing a game grid and the use of Newtonian momentum) I'm all for it and jumping on the download. Bump Out certainly meets the initial requirement, but as I continued to play, something wasn't quite right.
Version Reviewed: 22.214.171.124
Put aside the football influence on show (after all, you can switch the theme so you're playing with penguins - which is far nicer), because either theme is just a nice way to get some relevant graphics that aren't super abstract onto your screen, Bump Out asks you to clear a grid by pushing objects off the grid by using the other objects - with the aim to leave just one of them in play. Get to that point and you've (a) won and (b) are all set for a slightly harder level.
Like any good Scottish football player, you can see how easy the goal is, but you'll need careful planning (unlike the Scottish squad) to spot the correct order to make the moves in. As you start, it's easy to spot this path and see where objects need pushed so they can stop in line with other objects - but as you build up the difficulty, with more objects comes more choice, more choice breeds more complexity, and more complexity makes for a better game.
Unfortunately, while the later levels look more complicated, Bump Out has an unlimited undo function. You just hit the on-screen back button to recall your moves until the point where you want to try something a little bit different. Yes it's helpful, but perhaps it helps just a little bit too much. It's far too easy to step back to the single error you think you have made and solve levels by a trial and error method.
This makes Bump Out far too easy in my book.
The balance point between good and easy is very fine, and I'd like to see something done to scale up the difficulty (perhaps even as simple as a maximum of four undo moves) because everything else in the package works well. There are 150 fixed levels to work though, which are well ordered in terms of the difficulty curve. When these run out, you can switch to the computer generated levels for a potentially infinite number of variants, as long as you don't run out of time while solving them.
Bump Out is... nice. Its relative simplicity means the puzzle geeks will tire of it quickly though, and while the casual crowd might find enough in the gameplay to reward them, the developers might have a tough time attracting them to the download. Still, it is free, so definitely worth a look. But I think there's a lot of room for improvement.
Reviewed by Ewan Spence at