Developer: Game Oven
Price: $0.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0.1
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 4S

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
Controls Rating: ★★★½☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★☆☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★☆☆

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

bam fu 1In an increasingly digital gaming age, bit by bit we are unfortunately losing the magic that comes from playing together in the same space. Mobile devices, with their highly individualistic nature, are especially guilty of this. Bam Fu tries to bring back the physical fun only local multiplayer can provide while amplifying it with some modern, mobile twists. However, its gameplay isn’t quite good enough to match its good intentions.

Bam Fu turns the player’s device into a board game designed for 2-4 players. The board is full of colorful tiles and tapping them causes them to become the next color in the cycle. The goal is to create a screen full of one’s own color. Some tiles only morph via tapping but others cycle periodically on their own. It works fine on phones but the real estate of a tablet screen really comes in handy here. Ultimately, the fun comes from everyone tapping over each other in the same crowded space trying to be king of the mountain. It’s Reversi with ADHD. 

The game does a great job at eliciting the kind of frantic, violent scrambling that makes other physical games like Twister so fun and sociable. However, once that thrill wears off, the game is really just random tapping. Rounds move too fast to employ any real strategies even with fewer players. There are a few different board layouts to work with but their impact of gameplay is minimal. For some players, the crazy real-world interactions may keep things fresh for a while. Others will be more critical of its simplicity.

Still, Bam Fu’s presentation does all that it can to keep the party going as long as possible. The game’s kung-fu theme uses sharp, vibrant, comic-style graphics alongside pitch-perfect music and sound effects. The game’s overall light and snappy tone is a good complement to the ridiculous, intermittently hilarious gameplay. 

To get the most out of Bam Fu, it’s best for players to turn their brains off. That may not sound like the best advice, but if summer can be the home of dumb, fun movies who says it can’t be the same for games?


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