Developer: Ralf Chille
Price: $0.99 Download on the App Store
What would happen if games like Tetris or Removem could be played with bouncy balls instead of static shapes or falling blocks? Tapbounce is the first mobile game for players to experience the answer to just that. In the classic form of color-matching three or more, Tapbounce is an interactive bouncy ball puzzle that lets players interact with bouncing balls. The simple premise is to clear the board of all balls before the time runs out.
Tapbounce features just over 40 levels of increasing difficulty and various weight and colored bouncy balls. To clear a level, players must line up the balls so that all of the same colored balls are touching. The board changes with each level, presenting a different arrangement challenge, but the balls can be manipulated by touching and dragging or swiping. The challenge is to arrange the balls so that the corresponding color balls all touch and disappear before the timer expires.
Tapbounce is not particularly sophisticated in its graphic design, but yet the physics response of the bouncy balls is pretty good. The harder you swipe (which kind of equates to throwing) the harder they bounce. The gameplay is both unique and interesting, supported by varying elements from the weight of the balls to the design of the board. While the eventual arrangement for clearing the board wouldn’t be difficult to attain with unlimited time, playing against the timer keeps it challenging as you advance through the levels. There are also level challenges included, such as clearing all the removable white blocks on each level.
As a progressive game, players are afforded three attempts to clear a level before restarting. Any previous level that was unlocked will be available as a starting point, but the game starts over at level one after three failed attempts. You can compete against local high scores or world-wide scores and share your high scores on Facebook if desired. The smallest of flaws, such as ambiguous countdown timer and occasional lag are minor and non-distracting since Tapbounce is meant to be casual rather than a color matching frenzy.
There may not be much imagery magic to Tapbounce, but it is a pleasantly-designed and visually-appealing puzzle game with a unique interactive element that the typical color-match game lacks. The levels begin with the most basic and simplest of challenges to allow players to get a feel for it and advance to more challenging levels, while still maintaining the feel of a casual pick-up-and-play game. An optional “training” mode is available from the main menu under “options” for any needed clarification.
To try before you buy, there is a Lite version that includes the first two boards from each difficulty level, but the complete version has gradual appeal allowing players to advance naturally and is a decent value for a mere dollar game.