Developer: Square Bear Games
Version Reviewed: 1.0.6
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 4S
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
Due to their all-touch control schemes, platformers on iOS devices usually don’t require high amounts of precision and the ones that do tend to be needlessly frustrating. However, BLiP has a level of challenge that at times approaches indie, “masocore” classic Super Meat Boy. The real surprise though, is how well it pulls it off.
BLiP’s set-up is straightforward enough. Each level has an exit that can only be opened by collecting three stars. The stars aren’t hidden but getting them requires overcoming each screen’s micro-platforming challenges, usually in a particular sequence. Out of the 60+ levels, some are relatively simple but others are almost devious in their design. They seem to know just what move a player will think to make at any given moment and use that knowledge to send them hurdling into spikes. Fortunately, when players clear enough levels in a row, live-giving bonuses stages open up.
It’s definitely a game that calls for skill but what keeps it from becoming too aggravating is the slightly unconventional control scheme. The player character, BLiP, is a glowing square that can’t jump, a rarity in this genre. All the player can do is press on the sides of the screen to move left or right. Movement feels clean and but also weirdly slippery and BLiP can’t stop on a dime. However, it can climb over small obstacles and overall it has a very tight control over its own momentum even while in the air. The genius of this control scheme though is that because players no longer have to worry about twitchy, unreliable jumping, they can focus more on just timing their movements. Passing underneath spikes, crossing collapsing bridges and bouncing off limited-use trampolines all provide rigorous tests for this system and it passes without fail.
It’s a shame then that the rest of game doesn’t have quite that same level of polish. The stark, backlit environments make a decent first impression but they start to blend together soon enough. Same goes for the single music track that loops uninterrupted as players move from one level to the next. Still, BLiP is a clever little game that successfully turns a weakness of its platform into a strength.