App Reviewed on: iPhone SE
User Interface Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
If you've played Downwell before, then Puff. might look kind of similar. It's an action game with an 8-bit aesthetic where you use a simple three-button control scheme on the bottom of your screen to control your character for as long as possible without dying. That said, where Downwell took inspiration from roguelikes like Spelunky, Puff. seems to have drawn from arcade games like Bubble Bobble and Joust instead, making for a more arcade-like experience.
Light as a cloud
In Puff. you control a character that looks like a wisp of smoke. Your goal is to keep your character in the air while also dodging and shooting bubbles and other enemies and obstacles that appear on the screen. While all of this is happening, there is water beneath you that is constantly rising toward the top of the screen.
At the bottom of your screen, you have access to a jump button and buttons to shoot to your right and left. This jump button is what you use to keep yourself above the water. As you are in mid-air, you can press the jump button as many times as you want to keep rising upward. The shoot buttons operate both to target enemies coming from a specific direction as well as determine which direction your character moves in mid-air. Because you are a light wisp of smoke, shooting to the right causes your character to start drifting over to the left, and the opposite it true when shooting in the other direction.
After surviving for a bit in Puff., the room you're in shakes, sending spikes raining down that you must dodge before jumping up and through a hole in the ceiling. This takes you to yet another arena where you must stay afloat and kill enemies to stay alive.
The higher up in rooms you get, the more complicated stuff Puff. will throw at you, like fire-spitting plants and lightning fast creatures that shoot between pipes in the level. If at any point you die, you have to start all over again from the first level and work your way back up to where you were.
Light and refreshing
This all might make Puff. sounds like a pretty light experience, and that's because it is. The game's tap-to-maintain-height mechanic feels a lot like flying in Joust and the bubbly aesthetics of the game call Bubble Bobble to mind. When these are your reference points, throwing in complicated systems and progression mechanics are simply not called for.
There are ads in Puff. (it is a free-to-play game, after all), but they only present themselves between deaths. Thankfully, there are no mechanics to get a “free continue” by watching an ad in the game, and all ads can be removed with a simple $0.99 purchase.
The bottom line
Puff. is a great little arcade game that hits all of the points it's aiming for. The jumping and shooting mechanics are original and feel great and it doesn't have any free-to-play shenanigans. It might not be the deepest experience to be had on mobile, but that's also not at all what Puff. is trying to be.