Price: Free to Play
Version Reviewed: 1.0.3
Device Reviewed On: iPad 2, iPod touch 4
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
Bounty Bots is an online free-to-play shooter that's actually not really about the shooting. The goal is to collect coins spread throughout levels, and then head to one of the banks on the map to deposit those coins. These count as both score and money that can be spent on new weapons and costumes for the player character's wild west robot. Yes, that's right. This is a six-player free-for-all affair, and getting hit causes money to drop, and if the player dies, they lose all the money that isn't deposited yet.
The curious thing is that combat's worth avoiding. Killing has its rewards, but they're paltry, a mere 5 coins for the effort of killing someone in frantic battle. The convenience afforded by not being dead, being still standing when the action's died down is the real reward. The pursuit to deposit the coins is the real goal, and while the greatest riches are in places that leave the player vulnerable, it's still about finding ways to not die and get that money deposited. The game also cleverly rewards depositing huge amounts – while only 20 coins are deposited at a time, each additional 20 coins grants a 2 coin bonus that stacks up even on partial deposits.
The combat is largely hectic and chaotic, and it's a good thing that it only requires horizontal aiming, because this keeps the game feeling accessible. In fact, it's due in large part to the chaos of the combat that the free to play aspect of buying new weapons is not a huge factor. I like using the shotgun, but it all still just comes down to just knowing when to keep collecting and when to bank, and reacting when action comes. The game works very well on a good wifi connection, and the developers claim that the game will work over 3G connections. While I wasn't able to test this claim myself, MunkyFun developed Archetype which was able to do multiplayer over EDGE, so it is believable.
There's no real indicator of how one is doing in a match besides the player's coins banked, but placement among players is only revealed at the end of the match. As well, there is only one map in the game right now. While I've gotten to speak at length with the developers (look for the interview on an upcoming episode of The Portable Podcast) and they say this was a conscious decision, the game can get repetitive because there is just that one map. New content is planned for the game, however.
Really, that new content is going to be the key to long-term enjoyment of this game. It's well worth the free download to check out what the game does differently from other shooters, and to appreciate its whimsical style, though it will need some new maps soon.
Update: The game has in fact been updated with a new map, Malfunction Junction. As well, new costumes are available.