Developer: Backflip Studios
Price: $1.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★½☆
Game Controls Rating: ★★★★☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★½☆
iPhone Integration Rating: ★★★½☆
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★½☆☆

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

Ragdoll Blaster is simple game, with simple tenets. In fact the word simplicity sums up its graphics too – that’s not a criticism – they suit the game, and are charming in an L.S. Lowry kinda way. This is the sort of game that could have been planned out on the back of a beer mat – but it clearly has been crafted with skill and cunning.

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The premise of this game is this: you are required to aim the eponymous ragdoll at a red circle. The moment your doll comes into contact with the red circle the level is completed. Sounds simple? Well, it starts out that way. But pretty soon more and more obstacles are put in the way of your little man. Blocks, pulleys, see-saws, springs – all combine to hinder or help you to attain your goal.

What makes this game interesting is, firstly, discovering how to complete a level – quite often through trial and error – and secondly, the rag doll physics that the game’s name implies. The stick figures move – all flailing limbs – as you would expect a real doll to move. They have an effect on the whatever object they may land or crash into. Couple this knowledge with a control system that allows you to fling your matchstick man with finely judged strength, and you have a concept that makes for some challenging levels.

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For example, you may have a triangle in your way and you may have to hurl your ragdoll with just enough power to just clear the top of the triangle, but still land near the base of the far side of the triangle. Other levels require more brute force: a pile of blocks are in the way – you need to use your ragdolls as cannonballs, blasting clear the obstruction.

Quite often the solution to a level isn’t immediately obvious. Blocks on pivots, rotating contraptions, spring loaded platforms – all need your brain to be turned up to 10. That said, you can just blast off a few ragdolls and see what happens… that’s how I solved some levels.

Some may scoff at the graphics in Ragdoll Blaster. But what do you need? Fancy 3D, fully textured, bump mapped, ray traced graphics would be grossly unnecessary. In fact, this kind of game probably prides itself on its graphical style. In my opinion, the graphics suit the concept perfectly.

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There is very little to criticize Ragdoll Blaster about. But one slight downer is that once you complete the levels, you won’t be gagging to play them again. There are, though, 70+ levels, and Backflip Studios promise a further 30+ levels in a future update. This addition will aid the game’s longevity, but I don’t see Ragdoll Blaster being a game you come back to repeatedly.

Ragdoll Blaster is good unfussy fun, and is the kind of game you can play for five minutes without losing any impetus – you’re not going to have any trouble remembering where you were in a game like this. Just pick up and play.

For $1.99 you can’t really go wrong – Ragdoll Blaster is worth that. Enjoy it while it lasts.

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