For fans of classic PC gaming, the name Bounder’s World [99¢ / HD] may sound familiar. Indeed, the tilt-controlled game is an updated version of Bounder, a Commodore 64 game released in 1985 that had you control a tennis ball as it navigated a multitude of levels. The premise remains intact in Bounder’s World, but everything from the 2.5D viewpoint and graphics (and the humanization of the tennis ball) to the accelerometer-based controls are certainly a change. While I can’t affirmatively state that Bounder’s World manages to keep the essence of its spiritual predecessor intact, I can say that it’s certainly a solid tilt-based action title with a few shortcomings.

Bounder’s World has a simple premise: control your cute tennis ball-person through a variety of levels by bouncing him from rooftop to rooftop avoiding any gaping holes and spaces between buildings (which lead to your perilous death). Levels are divided into three separate worlds with different tile sets and, although the levels get progressively more difficult as you advance (obviously), there’s very little actual change to the core mission structure.

One thing that Bounder’s World doesn’t do a good job of explaining is the different mission types that you can play. Each mission can be divided into four different categories: star collection (the most prevalent), building destroying (hop on as many buildings as possible, but each collapses after you land on it), minimum bounces (you have a limited number of bounces – the less you take the better), and target hitting (similar to star collection but requires more precision). Of course, if objective-based gameplay isn’t your thing, you can always just try and get through each level which allows you to unlock the subsequent mission.

Bounder’s World is exclusively controlled via tilt. Like most games with a similar control scheme, the overall gameplay experience is very hit or miss depending on individual circumstances. Assuming you’re in an ideal tilt environment, Bounder’s World does offer a decent control scheme. As with most tilt games, you never really have full control of your tennis ball buddy’s movement, but its ‘bounce’ is consistent and methodical, meaning that with enough patience and practice it does become relatively easy to time your jumps. Sure, you’re going to lose a bunch of lives throughout the course of playing the game, but that just goes with the territory for tilt-based games. I was surprised that there didn’t appear to be any sort of calibration tool, as it would have been nice to adjust my tilt controls based on my current position (rather than being forced to use their neutral position every time I want to play).

When it comes to content, Bounder’s World certainly does not disappoint. There are a total of 144 levels in the game, with some only available after mastering the other standard missions. In addition, each level has a robust ranking system, as well as hidden coins and targets that offer the highest scores for those skillful enough to reach them. Game Center support, as well as local Bluetooth multiplayer completes the list of available options.  As mentioned above, variety is somewhat lacking from level to level, but that’s somewhat understandable as Bounder’s World focuses more on difficulty and actual gameplay instead.

In the end, Bounder’s World is a worthy addition to the tilt-controlled action genre. There aren’t any particularly innovative aspects to it, but the gameplay works and there’s certainly enough content to keep you coming back. And besides, that anthropomorphic tennis ball is pretty damn cute.

TouchArcade Rating

  • himanshu

    This is like a Gears with a bouncing ball? That game was tough without any bouncing to worry about!

  • Bernie -

    this bring tears to my eyes.

    i used played this on the sinclair zx spectrum 128k and was pulling my hair out due to its difficulty.

    now i am playing this on my 3gs and have no hair to pull. sniff.

Bounder's World Reviewed by Eric Ford on . Rating: 3.5