Developer: Gamevil
Price: $0.99
Version Reviewed: 1.1

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★☆☆
Game Controls Rating: ★★★½☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★½☆

iPhone Integration Rating: ★★★★☆
User Interface Rating: ★★★★☆

Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★★½☆

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

IMG_0380Gamevil’s latest title is a bit of a departure from previous releases like Zenonia and Baseball Superstars. Instead, it’s almost a super-strategic Doodle Jump. In Boom It Up, you try to fire a canonball through a series of wacky obstacles, pausing many times to wait for the perfect moment to strike. The goal is simply to rise as high as possible. It’s a promising premise and a good amount of fun, but the lackluster graphics and jerky gameplay keep it from being a must-buy.

To launch your canonball, you simply tap the screen; the ball will fly from its current cannon and you’re immediately confronted with some creative obstacles. Trampolines, levers, springs, gears, fire…you’ll find all of those, among others, in addition to nasty birds that will result in an immediate death. Timing is key, as obstacles are seldom immobile. The course is randomized each time you play, and while each course starts easily, the difficulty quickly escalates. The resulting game is a fun, casual treat, with each playthrough lasting for only a minute or two at most…if you’re as (un)skilled as me, anyway.

Included leaderboards (both local and global) keep track of your best distance, but there are no achievements or any other “extras” to unlock. It’s you, your cannonball, and a quest for height—nothing more, and nothing less.

However, once you get past the bare game, a few flaws emerge. For one thing, the graphics are annoyingly blurry. I know that it’s supposed to look cartoony, but I suspect that the sprites have simply been blown up from a cell phone game to match the iPhone’s resolution. The jagged images, therefore, a little disconcerting. The audio is decent but not phenomenal; most of the time I left it off. The thing that annoyed me the most, however, was the way the game pauses after each time your cannonball advances to allow the camera to follow. This creates a sense of jerkiness that quickly becomes frustrating. I want a seamless experience, not a staggered, jerky one.

Having to time your moves and the intentional “stuttering” really slow the game down, making it less fun than it could have been. On the other hand, the skill and timing required also make it a lot more challenging and entertaining. If you’re a fan of super-simple casual titles like Doodle Jump, you might find Boom It Up to be a blast. Just be prepared to deal with some few rough edges.

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