Bumps Review

Bumps is an iPhone / iPod Touch puzzle game that is overwhelmingly cute. It’s adorable. It sweet. It’s so sweet that I forgot to eat lunch. I just sat in my chair, tapping away at my iPod Touch, trying to release the little Bumps from the alien aggressors. I played straight through the game. I completed all 54 levels. Along the way, I took some notes. There are some minor issues with Bumps. But overall, it’s one of the best games in its class.

The story and the concept is straightforward. You have to collect the keys to release your friends. However, the keys are color sensitive. A yellow bump needs to touch the yellow key in order to unlock a yellow lock. You position your “Bumps”  on the playing area and then you can drop them. If your aim and logic is sound, you can free the prisoners and clear the level. The controls are easy to grasp, making this game suitable for young players. There’s no blood, no guts, no sexual situations or ultra violence.

Although, there is a mini-game where you can shoot at the aliens. When they’re hit, they spin out of view. That’s about as extreme as the game gets. There are four types of mini-games, adding extra value to the app. There’s also some accelerometer action between levels. Yet, it’s the music and the artwork that makes this app special. It’s vivid and lively.

Bumps - Map
Bumps has a map. This shows your game progress. As you clear levels, you can unlock mini-games and new areas.

There are some issues with Bumps. That’s not surprising for version 1.0. Once, a green key didn’t reappear when the level was reset. Also, the Bumps blink. It’s a cute feature, but it doesn’t always work. Sometimes their eyes and eyebrows disappear. These are minor issues that didn’t terribly hinder my enjoyment of the game. Although, I was surprised that the game didn’t take advantage of autorotation support. Bumps doesn’t support flipped modes, such as landscape with the home button on the left or the right side. I didn’t really notice this issue until I unlocked the pinball game. If I’m playing a game while my iPod Touch is charging, it’s more comfortable if the cable hangs down and not sticking up.

This game was made with GameSalad. That’s probably where the biggest flaw comes from — loading times. Utopian Games does a nice job of minimizing the loading times, but it’s still pretty bad. I clocked the initial start up at roughly 20+ seconds. Staring at the “made with GameSalad” screen might be a serious deterrent to impatient players. Yet, as soon as the cute story panels hit the screen, you might soon forget about the start up times. When the game is finally started, the rest of the loading times are not too horrible.

With the graphics, there is a minor issue with zoom. The background becomes a little blurry when you zoom in. Again, this is probably related to GameSalad. Large images can dramatically slow down GameSalad games. Yet, the zoom feature is well handled. That’s an advanced trick to accomplish with GameSalad. It shows the game development skills of Darren Spencer. By zooming in, you can be more precise with the positioning of the Bumps.

The game starts off so friendly and soft. The early levels are more like an extended tutorial than a challenge. The game is on the easy side. Sometimes if you just wait, the Bumps will roll and bounce into the right locations. At first, I thought that the game was too easy. I changed my mind when I hit the later levels. Level 43 and Level 52 were the hardest for me. Some spots can be tricky. But in general, you could blast through the game in about 2 hours. For a 99¢ game, that’s an exceptional value. A movie in NYC could set me back about $10.

Bumps - Level Completed
If you complete a level in 1-3 tries, you can get a gold star. If you mess up, simply exit the level and try again.

Gaming certainly has changed. I remember the days of the arcades, where four quarters would last like 10 minutes. It’s just not that way with Bumps. This game can be yours to keep. But even though I can leave Bumps on my iPod Touch permanently, I don’t think I’ll play it that much. The replay value is a little weak. Although, it seems that new “winter wonderland” area may be included in the future.

Overall, I rate this game at 4.5 out of 5 stars. It’s a highly economical and entertaining iPhone / iPod Touch game. The flaws I found were minor when compared to the quality of the game. I suspect that many of the issues I found could be resolved with future updates.

Full Disclosure: I received a promo code to review this game. I am the author of The Unofficial GameSalad Textbook.