App Reviewed on: iPhone SE
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It's not easy to take one simple gimmick and build a compelling game around it. It's even harder when you're doing this for an action game that requires precise control and quick reflexes on a touch screen. For these reasons, Bouncing Hero feels like a true anomaly. This game takes the simple mechanic of bouncing around on a pogo stick and transforms it into an experience that feels effortlessly fun and unique.
Up and down
The concept for Bouncing Hero is that you’re an adventurer on a pogo stick. Your mission is to bounce your way through dungeons in an effort to collect orbs being guarded by mysterious, statue-like guardians.
Your keys to making it through these dungeons are little green switches present in every room. Bouncing over to these switches triggers an attack that can defeat your foes and unlock doors that lead deeper into the dungeon.
Back and forth
Bouncing Hero’s controls couldn’t be any simpler. Your hero bounces automatically, and all you have to do is touch the sides of the screen to move left and right. This allows you to steer your hero into green switches while also giving you tools to dodge bullets being fired at you or avoid environmental hazards like spikes and laser barriers.
With this limited control scheme, Bouncing Hero feels really tight. Bouncing around levels feels great, and the game’s level design has enough tricks up its sleeves to make the simple act of traversal feel fun across the game’s 13 dungeons. Many levels feel like puzzle rooms, but there are also bosses with novel attack patterns, scrolling screen dungeons, and other surprising ways that Bouncing Hero keeps things fresh.
Jumping for joy
As surface level as Bouncing Hero may seem, it’s definitely not an easy game. Between each boss, you have to beat a series of levels without dying, or risk starting the whole set over again. You can only take three hits or so before getting a game over, and it’s easier than you’d think to careen into hazards when you’re constantly bouncing around the screen.
This challenge is part of what makes Bouncing Hero so good though. Each of its levels feel tough, but fair, and it’s super satisfying to figure out how a set of stages works after dying and retrying it a few times. There’s no time where Bouncing Hero feels like it’s holding your hand, but you also constantly feel in control of the experience. This is a delicate balance that precious few mobile action games actually nail, but Bouncing Hero does it almost perfectly.
The bottom line
There are a many reasons why Bouncing Hero sounds like an ill-conceived game, yet it manages to be one of the most satisfying action platformers I’ve played on the App Store. It may have a dead simple gimmick and ask you to be quick and precise using a touch screen, but all of it still somehow works. Bouncing Hero is just a special game that's absolutely worth jumping into.