Bounce Rescue! Review

By Megan Walton,
When it comes to platformers, there's a long list of successful ones out there. While not necessarily full of content, these platformers do the basics right, by having responsive controls, well designed and interesting levels, and engaging characters that give you a reason to keep on playing. Unfortunately, Bounce Rescue! misses these points, but it has a few redeeming qualities for those who really love platformers.

Bounce Rescue!Bounce Rescue!

Usually, platformers tell the story of a big bad boss that has come to take over the world by kidnapping something or someone that the hero has to go and rescue, defeating various enemies along the way. In Bounce Rescue!, you are introduced to the game with a speechless cutscene, which actually shows you very little other than seeing some presumably good bounce characters being overrun by some presumably bad bounce characters. This is all the motivation you have for progressing through the various levels presented to you, and really this isn't quite enough. This is pretty much all the story you are offered through the whole of the game too, so if a good story helps you see past a game's flaws, Bounce Rescue! likely starts you off on the wrong foot.

The game looks pretty enough, with bright colours and cutesy characters that you'd probably expect from a platformer, with an accompanying soundtrack that is upbeat and joyful. These alone are not enough to redeem it from the rest of the annoying problems that you face when playing it sadly. As with most platformers, your basic aim is to get from A to B. As you do this, you'll want to pick up coins and collect three gems, none of which seem to have any use within the game other than boosting your score. Combine these things with killing repetitive enemies along the way, and jumping between platforms which you'll find yourself missing more often than not, and you've pretty much spelled out the repetitive frustrations of Bounce Rescue! Your only moves here are going side to side, jumping and attacking, and the basic act of doing these moves regularly feels like a chore.

At first glance, it seems like the levels are very basic and easy enough to navigate. This is only the case for the first couple though, as frustrations will begin to grow as soon as you hit the third or fourth level of the first island. They feel badly designed, and coupled with the movement and jumping of your character, feel awkward as well. This means that death is something you'll have to become familiar with in this game. There are a few checkpoints scattered about the levels to save you from complete meltdown, but these are not always in the best places. On top of this frustration is the fact that every level has a time limit. If you want to collect everything along the way before getting to the end, these constraints are not welcoming given just how problematic all other elements of the game can be. If you manage to progress off this first island, things do become more familiar and slightly more forgiving, but that's only if you can stick with the game that long.

At least the game has a bright and colourful lookAt least the game has a bright and colourful look

If you're looking for a challenge in a platformer, then that's what Bounce Rescue! is, just sadly not always for the right reasons. The level layout feels somehow lacking and repetitive most of the way through the game, with badly placed keys to open awkwardly positioned doors. Couple this with warp pads that can throw you right into the path of oncoming enemies with little warning, and a health bar that never fully heals back unless you find the one health pickup in the level, and you've got a whole load of frustration for very little reward. A slight reprise from these levels is the boss fights that face you at the end of every island which offer a different kind of challenge, and reward you with a character upon beating it. There's some slightly better design in these bosses, but not much.

In a recent update, the game added difficulty options, meaning the standard difficulty could be dropped to easy or heightened to impossible. These frustrations are somewhat lessened by the easier difficulty, as you start with a shield and your health is full, but that still doesn't forgive the annoying level designs, which are the same in all the difficulties. You can also pull in a friend for a bit of co-op play, whether that is playing through the main game levels or bringing in a couple more friends for some multiplayer. These seem slightly tacked onto the main game, but the roster of characters you can choose from means you don't have to all be the same avatar. The fact that you can find and unlock characters as you progress through the game also gives you some reason to push through the levels, but these characters will often be off the beaten path, and may result in more frustrating deaths should you reach for them.

If for some reason the struggles of Bounce Rescue! all sounding more like appealing challenges, there are leaderboards and a time attack mode to offer some replayability to the levels. Beating enemies and collecting the coins/gems on the normal levels will earn you a number of points, and a consequent star score out of three. Your speed in time trials is hampered somewhat by lagging which appears in some of the levels, and no doubt, once you've played through a level, trying to rush through it for the quickest time, will see you meeting death on many occasions.

These cave-based levels are some of the more annoying in the gameThese cave-based levels are some of the more annoying in the game

Of the 14 achievements the game offers for you to earn, there's only a handful you will get easily, such as killing your first bee and completing the first level. You'll have to kill a lot of the enemies along the way, earn an elusive high score, and finish a level in under 30 seconds. It's a list that really isn't worth the effort given how problematic the game's central mechanics so often are.

Summary

Bounce Rescue! is a platformer in name but it gets a lot of the actual platforming wrong that it feels unfair to call it that. Though it looks bouncy and cute from the outside, once you get into the gameplay things are not quite so pretty. Awkward movements and poorly designed levels let the game down, and although the difficulty choice added in the update helps things, it doesn't fix all of the problems. There's certainly room for difficult and frustrating platformers that eventually reward you when you succeed, but Bounce Rescue! rarely feels worth the trouble because it's challenging for all the wrong reasons.
2.5 / 5
Bounce Rescue!
Positives
  • Bright and colourful design
  • Update added difficulty choice
  • Leaderboards offer some challenge and replayability
Negatives
  • Frustrating level design
  • Gameplay feels too basic
  • Some instances of lagging in levels
  • Lack of story means you have little motivation to carry on
  • Level time limits are annoying
Ethics
The reviewer spent approximately 5 hours bouncing around levels, killing enemies, collecting coins and dying a lot, unlocking 6 of the game's 14 achievements. A download code was provided for the purpose of this review.
Megan Walton
Written by Megan Walton
Megan is a TA newshound and reviewer who has been writing for the site since early 2014. Currently working in catering, she enjoys cooking extravagant dishes, baking birthday cakes for friends and family in peculiar shapes, writing depressing poetry about life and death, and unlocking every achievement possible.