Developer: Orca Inc.
Price: $0.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPad 2

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

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

Physics puzzlers have taken off in the last few years on iOS, what with malcontent birds flying all over the place and candy being cut into a green monster’s mouth. But Cosmic Bump takes inspiration from the original physics puzzler, before games were video games: pinball. Yes, this is a physics puzzler where there’s objects to collect in order to complete the level, but there’s also flippers and bumpers to knock the ball-like aliens around. Players launch their alien from the bottom of the screen in the direction and power level of their choice, and try to navigate the alien through the hazards and tricky layouts to collect all the stars in a level without hitting the ground.

Cosmic Bump follows the pattern that Cut the Rope does: create a set of levels that introduce a mechanic, like bubbles or portals. Have the player master them through that level set and then bring new things like spikes into play with a smattering of the old mechanics throughout. It’s a little paint-by-numbers but it works. The pinball aspect gives the game a dynamic feeling that others have really lacked: it’s possible to find an alternate solution through skillful (or accidental) flippery. Solutions that don’t feel like the ‘proper’ one are spread throughout the game, and even the safety pad on the bottom (a la Peggle, which is also an influence with all the bumpers and curved paths in the game) can be cleverly used to get three stars.

I find it intersting that there’s a high score mechanism, when it’s really about as valuable as the points on “Whose Line Is It, Anyway?” are. Finish the level with all the aliens still alive, and it’s three stars. There’s seemingly no bonus for actual high scores. Stars are used to unlock later levels, so keeping up a good degree of performance is always a good idea.

While Cosmic Bump is at its heart another enjoyable-but-not-classic physics puzzler, it’s something that will provide plenty of amusement, especially for those looking for a little more twitch timing in their physics puzzlers. This was practically made for 148Apps staff writer Blake Grundman, known pinball and Peggle fiend. I’m not quite sure that he didn’t make it himself given those two obvious influences. Tell us your secrets, Grundman…

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