I like fun and I like silly, and as luck would have it Bulba The Cat has both of these in spades. It doesn’t really provide a very deep platforming experience, and there aren’t a wide variety of obstacles to face, but it makes great use of what it does have to provide some compelling levels. The game is not very difficult either, and I might even have it beat by the time I finish this review, but I’ve enjoyed it so much through the process that it won’t really matter to me that the experience was a tad short (though I’ll be sad that it’s over).
In Bulba you play the eponymous cat. Your sushi has been stolen by an evil crow and left your octopus girlfriend balling her eyes out, and it’s up to you to make things right. To do this you’ll have to conquer 60 levels, recovering all the sushi along the way. The thing is, you’re quite literally not going to take this standing still. It seems you must be the poster child for A.D.D. in cats, because you can’t seem to stop bouncing. While that may appear annoying at times (and it is) it actually provides for an interesting game play mechanic. Add to that the fact that you’re technically tilting the playing field rather than directly controlling Bulba and your mindset needs to be a bit different than if you were playing a traditional platformer.
The biggest obstacle in the game is water, which Bulba really doesn’t like. There are also these big spinning wooden things that will knock the wind out of Bulba if they hit him. Some platforms disappear soon after you land on them, and moving platforms present a unique challenge due to your constant movement. Windmills will periodically emit a burst of wind that you sometimes need to ride and other times need to avoid. The trickiest piece of landscape is the slope, which likes to see you bounce in the opposite direction you were headed when you landed on it. Conspicuously absent from this whole affair, however, are any sort of “bad guys”. It’s just you, your bouncy personality, and a bunch of obstacles to conquer.
The tilt control works all right except that there’s no means of adjusting the center of balance, so I often find myself playing with the device nearly parallel to the ground. It works, but it feels kind of odd. There’s also no way to zoom in and out, so you never really know the big picture, as it were. It also means that at times you’re quite literally taking a leap of faith to progress in the game. There is no score and no social network integration, so pretty much once you’re done the game is over. Of course, contrary to my facetious remarks in the opening paragraph, somewhere around level 23 the challenge picks up a bit, so the average player should get decent play time out of the game.
The graphics are decent, but they have an “OpenGL tutorial’ vibe to them. Everything is blocky and covered with basic textures and the water has no real depth to it. Bulba is pretty cute, though, and there are a couple of nice effects like puffs of smoke when Bulba lands and a particle fountain when he hits the water.
The sound effects are pretty typical. When the cat bounces it sounds like a spring. Splashing water actually sounds like splashing water. The big wooden things make decent creaky sounds. All told there really aren’t a lot of different sound effects. I love the music. It ranges from nice, subtle tunes that almost sound like elevator music to this crazy song with laughing and a singing cat!
Bulba The Cat is one crazy ride. In some ways it’s rather simple for a platform game, yet the level designs get quite interesting and challenging as the game progresses. I do wish there were some actual villains, but that’s a minor quibble. The graphics are basic but look good, and the music is very nice. There’s not really any replay value, but the initial trip through is worth the price of admission in my opinion. Bulba’s certainly worth checking out, especially if you’re into platform games.
|Title:||Bulba The Cat||Developer:||C4M Prod|
|Reviewed Ver:||1.1||Min OS Req:||3.0|
|Price:||$0.99||App Size:||Size: 51.7 MB|