Life is a Bumpy Road, and I wanna ride it all night long!
Okay, let me get this out of the way. Cute, endearing, lovable, charming. These are all words that can be used to describe Bumpy Road, the latest title for iOS from Simogo. But these are all words that I have used before and will likely be used by anyone else who plays the game, or even looks at the screens shots. So I am going to use different words this time, damn it!
In Bumpy Road, the player is charged with helping a small car to travel along a road filled with holes and littered with platforms and all manner of random stuff. The player can tap the road beneath the car to make it bounce into the air, or hold their finger on the road to create a bump that, when slid, can cause the car to travel forwards faster, or even backwards. Using these mechanics, the player is able to help the car to jump over the holes in the road, or even bounce up the platforms and collect the stuff, known as gizmos. These random items that can be found along the way both add to the players final score and also refill the little car’s fuel gauge as it trundles it’s way along the road.
The game features two different modes of play. In Evergreen Ride the player is treated to an endless mode in which they must simply travel as far as they can before running out of fuel. Sunday Trip on the other hand offers a more focused mode in which the player has to travel a given distance in the fastest time possible.
Whichever mode is played, the player will first have to get to grips with the interesting controls. Whilst tapping the road to make the car bounce into the air is fairly straight forward and easy to pick up, controlling the cars speed and direction using the touch and slide method will certainly take some getting used to. It is not that it is difficult, but it is tricky to use with any sort of control, making it far too easy to accidentally fall into a pit whilst attempting to pick up speed. It doesn’t really matter too much in Evergreen Ride, but in Sunday Trip where the objective is to move as fast as possible through the level, mastering this control method is essential for a decent score.
It seems that the elderly couple had a life before they decided to get into their car, and throughout the game the player will come across memory fragments that will build a picture of their life before this trip. These memory fragments can be viewed in Memory Lane from the main menu and are resented through a black and white projector slide-show. There are loads to collect, giving the player further reason to return beyond the high score and fast time.
Discussing the way that the game looks without using any of the words I mentioned at the beginning is a tough challenge. The visual style is both similar to the previous Simogo game, Kosmo Spin, and also reminiscent of kids TV from my early youth, such as Ivor the Engine. Despite the frantic gameplay, Bumpy Road has a very calm feeling about it, almost relaxing, which is further enhanced by the happy soundtrack and the plinky, plonky noises made by the road whenever you touch it.
Bumpy Road is incredibly well made and is damn good fun to play. It creates that all important compulsion to come back and just try one more time to beat the high score. Game Center support offers both leaderboards and achievements, further compelling the player to come back for more. At £1.79 for the iPhone or iPad versions of the game, the game offers great value for me considering the replayability. At the end of the day, why would you not want to join this cute, endearing couple for a charming journey through the lovable world of Bumpy Road?
Bumpy Road, from Simogo, is available on the App Store for £1.79