The best casual games are usually the ones that play with ideas that already exist, or mash two existing ideas together. Bing Bong! belongs to this fine tradition.
The influences in question are Breakout and Peggle. Yep, indie developer Sasank Sasikumar has gone cross-generational, drawing on two casual gaming classics from two very different decades.
Breakout’s DNA is clear to see in the basic gameplay mechanics. There’s a paddle at the bottom of the screen that you can move left and right. There are balls, too, and since they’re in the thrall of gravity you need to intercept them before they disappear into the void.
These balls come in green and red flavors, and you need to stop the green ones while avoiding the red ones. Unlike in Breakout, you’re not trying to destroy bricks – you’re just trying to catch the right balls.
Here’s where the Peggle stuff comes in. Various objects appear randomly on the screen, knocking the balls around and generally getting in the way. There are lines, dots, larger circles, and yet more circles with either + or – signs in them.
Honey, I shrunk the ball
Naturally, these grow and shrink balls respectively, and after being hit by a ball they disappear, as do all the other objects.
That’s pretty much it in terms of gameplay mechanics. But in the hand Bing Bong! is a frantic casual gaming experience. There’s so much going on as you scramble to predict trajectories, anticipate impacts, and ensure that your paddle is always where it needs to be – between teh green ball and the bottomless off-screen nothingness.
It’s all very tense and fast-moving, and the gameplay is set off perfectly by the minimal neon visuals, which are stripped back to allow you to concentrate purely on action. Helped along by the soothing audio, the game lures you into a sort of arcade trance.