App Reviewed on: iPad Pro
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Replay Value Rating:
Booger is one of the oddest puzzle games to grace the App Store. It's like if a video game could be the equivalent of Twister, but for your fingers. In order to do this in a way that works well, Booger requires that you play it on an iPad. Provided you have the necessary hardware, Booger offers up some fun and creative challenges, though perhaps in a way that's a too straightforward.
Pick your nodes
In Booger, your goal is to stretch some mucus-like goop from a starting point over one or more nodes. Stretching to a single node in a straight line as easy as tapping and dragging with a single finger. Very quickly though, Booger introduces levels with non-linear paths between nodes, multiple nodes, and even obstacles that you have to work your way around.
To beat these levels, you need to use more fingers. At any point along your trail of goop, you can tap and drag again to create a branching arm of goop. Creating multiple branches can let you connect to multiple nodes, but it can also let you stretch and bend the path of your goop so it can curl around curved pathways or circumvent some hazard.
The challenge in Booger is two-fold. You have to look at each level to see how you might want to stretch your goop to all the empty nodes, and then you have actually execute on that plan. This is relatively easy to do when you only have to branch your goop two or three times, but when you start having to make five or more branches of goop using as many fingers, it can be tough to bend and flex your hands in the ways desired.
On some levels, this is less of a problem. Whenever you connect to a node in Booger, the goop locks in to place, meaning you can free up the finger controlling that branch to focus on something else. This isn't always the case though. Also each level in Booger has a rating system that grades your performance based on time, obstacle avoidance, and how many fingers you used.
Although Booger can be physically demanding to play, this makes clearing levels immensely rewarding. Booger also happens to have some really creative puzzle design that plays with its unique mechanics in some surprising ways, so it's also fun to make your way through the game just to see what new, exciting challenge is coming up next.
The only problem with all of this is that Booger is a ruthlessly linear experience. You have to clear each level in the exact order in which it appears. Levels are divided into worlds, but even within a world, you have to complete every level in a set progression. For more traditional puzzles games, this is often the norm and completely expected, but in the case of Booger, this progression detracts from the experience. Because the game demands unique and varied forms of dexterity that can come more easily to some players than others, it feels odd that there is no way for players to skip around (even in some kind of limited fashion) to try other puzzles if their fingers aren't cooperating on a specific challenge.
The bottom line
Booger is a great game with a lot of barriers to entry. In addition to requiring a tablet to play, you also need to have some pretty flexible fingers to execute its challenges and some strong determination to move through its rigid level progression. This is to say there's a lot of really cool things that Booger does, I just wish these things were a little more accessible.