Bumps is a new physics-based puzzle game from developer Utopian Games with a cute style and clever mechanics. Aliens have captured most of the population of a circular race known as bumps, and it's up to the few who haven't been caught to collect the keys on each level in order to release their friends from imprisonment. Don't let the lighthearted style of the game fool you, however, as some of the levels will really test your puzzle solving fortitude. With 54 unique levels and a number of interesting mini-games to play, Bumps will keep you entertained for quite some time.
To play each level, you'll strategically place bumps at various spots around the screen. Hitting a button then enables gravity, allowing the bumps to fall down and hopefully collect all the keys that correspond to each ones color. Oftentimes you'll even have to βbumpβ into another bump to push them and get them rolling towards a key. Other elements like springboards and moving platforms can help you accomplish your goal. There's even anti-gravity switches in certain levels, so once you drop the bumps to collect keys they will then hit the switch and have to float up to grab the others. It's a bit hard to explain but easy to get the hang of, and a nice tutorial introduces you to the concepts in Bumps. The levels are all really cleverly designed and will often have you smiling once you figure out the intended solutions.
Bumps is split into six differently themed worlds, with nine levels in each for a total of 54. Medals are awarded based on how many tries it takes you to complete a level, but every level can be retried as many times as needed if you get stuck. In a nice twist, each world begins with its own distinct mini-game to break up the action, and there are four other mini-games independent of the level structure that can be unlocked as well. The mini-games include variations on iPhone mainstays like air hockey, pinball, brickbreaker, and more. They're pretty simplified versions of these games but are a nice distraction from the puzzle solving.
While the gameplay in Bumps is well designed and fun, a couple issues about the game stick out as annoying. Hitting the retry button during a level resets the position of the bumps, so if you're just trying to make a small adjustment to one bump you'll have to reposition all of them over again. Also, by default the game zooms in when you touch a bump to give you a closer view. I didn't really like this zooming feature, and it can easily be disabled with an icon in the upper corner, but the game fails to remember that you disabled it from level to level, so it must be disabled each new level you play. These are relatively minor issues that don't affect the enjoyment of the game, and Utopian Games has already stated in our forums that both issues will be fixed in the next update, as well as adding a new world with nine brand new levels.
Overall, Bumps offers a good amount of gameplay wrapped in charming sound and visuals. The bouncy, floaty physics engine makes for an interesting way to solve puzzles, and is a lot of fun. iPad owners can look forward to a native version of Bumps coming to that device in the next couple of months. This version won't be a direct port, and will feature all new levels and graphics to take advantage of the extra screen size and higher resolution. The mini-games in the iPad version will have same device multiplayer for up to four players, which should make for some hectic fun in between solving puzzles. Until that time though, the iPhone version of Bumps is a blast, and is recommended if you're looking a new puzzler with some unique ideas.
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