Developer: Romper Games
Price: $0.99
Version Reviewed: 1.1

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
Game Controls Rating: ★★★★☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★½

iPhone Integration Rating: ★★★★☆
User Interface Rating: ★★★½☆

Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

IMG_0381I’m going to avoid the comparisons to Peggle and simply say: Rebounce is a delight. This action-puzzle game is an awesome mixture of adrenaline, reflexes, and strategy that easily make it one of the App Store’s more addicting puzzles. If you’re looking for a “casual” game that can suck hours out of your life, step right up; Rebounce is a great candidate.

Rebounce’s playing field is filled with an array of marbles, which you must break by hitting them with your coin. To do so, you can grab your coin with a finger, which slows down time, and then fling it in your desired direction. Hit the marbles enough times, and they’ll burst. Most marbles take 3 hits to destroy, and they chain—if marbles with an equal amount of damage are touching, hitting one is the same as hitting them all. This allows you to quickly knock out huge blocks, if you aim right. Aiming is made tricky by the effects of gravity, which affect your flings; adjusting to the unique “puck physics” involved takes a bit of time. There are also “gear” pieces which can only be broken by “bombs” and will thus inhibit your progress.

The main mode of Rebounce is a continuous progressions of levels, mixing the Puzzle, Rush, and Bonus modes together. Puzzle mode is constrained and not very imaginative—there’s a goal marble in a mix of static ordinary marbles, and you have to either clear all the marbles or hit the goal. It’s not a ton of fun and requires little skill, though there is a sixty-second time limit.

IMG_0386I much prefer Rush mode. In Rush mode, marbles continuously rise from the bottom of the screen in columns, and the level ends when they surge pass the yellow bar at the top. Gears also crop up with maddening frequency. The result is an action-packed “endless” mode in which you struggle to quell the rising tide of marbles. Getting into small spaces is a must, as the columns don’t grow evenly and you’ll often need to rush over and explode a nearly-blocked off bomb. There’s nothing quite like the awesome thrill of hovering on the brink of defeat, and you’ll experience that quite often in Rush mode. As for Bonus mode, it’s a blend of the two; it plays much like Rush mode, except you can hit the bottom of the screen without penalty and there’s a sixty-second limit. When not playing through the regular level progression, you can also chose individual levels from the main screen. There are forty in all.

Images are crisp and slick, and the ping! the coin makes as it bounces off of gears is great. However, there isn’t any background music; rather, you can listen to your own. Thank you. Far too many games prevent you from listening to your own music, and this makes the lack of a custom soundtrack more than forgivable.

If I had to complain about an aspect of the game, I’d have to say that it’s the lack of challenge. Sure, I can’t stay alive forever in Rush mode, but I can always meet the minimum to pass. I’d like to see at least a few levels that require a re-do. The mix of Puzzle, Rush, and Bonus levels also feels a bit strange, but that’s hardly a major problem, or even a complaint.

What does bug me, however, is that the game’s auto-resume feature isn’t quite up to par. If you lock your screen, get a text, or get hit with a few push notifications, the game has to “recover” your session. It’s not a huge problem, but it does force you to wait a few seconds, which is hardly fun.

Overall, Rebounce is a real treat and far from your typical puzzle game. It sets a fast pace and will easily devour a few hours of your life at a single sitting, if you let it. If you’re looking for a quick-paced action-puzzle and can see yourself going back to replay the levels, Rebounce is a steal for a meager $0.99.

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