Refreshingly Different

Blupt! (out now, $0.99) is an ambitious little game. In an App Store chock-full of Angry Birds and Cut The Rope rehashes and reiterations, refreshingly, for this physics puzzler, Unboring SL has come up with an interesting new gameplay formula. Do these innovative ideas succeed, or make things overly complicated? Read on to find out! *burp*

Meet Bubby, a cute cyclopean creature whose sole goal in life apparently is to change the color of his own body by knocking back different flavors of ‘Blupt’ soda. Why? For the kick of it, of course! Armed with a soda-bottle nozzle as your primary weapon, get ready to take part in the Battle of Toungistan. Well actually, I just made that up, but this battle does take place on none other than your own tongue.

Blupt! features four level packs, the first containing 12 levels and the remaining three 24, with more labelled ‘coming soon.’ The initial Green pack comprises of stages in which Bubby’s tongue starts off being a color he doesn’t want – red, for example. Your goal in these stages is to eradicate opposing flavored bubbles so that only green ones remain. Once this is accomplished, Bubby (and his tongue) change from red to green, indicating you have cleared the level and are ready to move on to the next challenge.

So, how do opposing bubbles get cleared? The first rule of clearing bubbles is that there are no bubbles. No, all jokes aside… each soda bubble in your arsenal is a standard, small-sized bubble. Bigger bubbles always devour smaller bubbles – that’s the law of this or indeed any other similar game in the genre. Yes, there are unfortunately larger and meaner bubbles out there on the battlefield but, never fear, there are two ways to take them on.

You can either a) increase the size of your bubble by merging it with another existing bubble on the battlefield of the same color you are launching, or b) you can hurl yourself into a bigger, opposing bubble, sacrificing yourself in the process but propelling the larger one in a direction of your choosing.

There are also obstacles and powerups in the game which can either pop these large bubbles or even change their color in order to help you clear the level. Thus, studying the battlefield and strategically deciding where you want to launch your bubbles is a must. There are stars scattered around the battlefield as well and as you maneuver around spikes, dangerous bubbles and other obstacles, collecting a certain number of them is mandatory to move on to the next pack of levels.

In the event a stage becomes too challenging to solve, a “best shoot” can be used (e.g. the CPU adjusts the aim for that level for you, making it a breeze to clear). While you start off with 3 of these life-savers, the game does quite a persistent job of reminding you that you can buy a bundle of 20 more “best shoots” for $0.99. Perhaps one notification would have been sufficient in the options screen instead of having it show up every time a level is not passed?!

My only other suggestion for improving this fun title would be to make the ‘retry level’ button a bit more accessible than it currently is – at present, you have to first pause the game, then press the retry button to give it another shot. While you won’t need to use this feature often during the initial levels, the retry button soon becomes your best friend as puzzles get progressively more difficult.

The game’s visual and auditory style is quirky, but in a charming way; there’s no other way to explain it. It’s evident that a heck of a lot of imagination and creativity went into ensuring Blupt! would stand out from similar offerings on the App Store, and indeed that’s what makes the game all the more memorable. It certainly will be an acquired taste for some and it’s easy to initially be a bit turned off by the artistic style, but with time, these initial reservations are likely to disappear for most.

To conclude, Blupt’s true nature only reveals itself after the first dozen or so levels. As the game starts getting tougher from the second level pack onwards, I was surprised how many retries I required for a few specific stages. As many times as I retried a level, Blupt! never once frustrated me. Instead, I felt the consistent need to improve my aim and plan my strategy over and over again until I finished the level out.

iFanzine Verdict: What starts out a strange game soon reveals itself to be a surprisingly deep and intelligent puzzler. If you can get past the game’s quirky audio and visual style, which seems to be more suited towards younger audiences, you’ll be able to dig out a deep and rewarding experience from Blupt!.

[xrr rating=4/5]