Bumper Stars: Now Featuring Master Chief and Obama

You look at some games and you know exactly what you’re getting. Bumper Stars is no such title with its brightly coloured visuals and genre-spanning game play style.

Pitched as a simple mini-game, your goal is to collect all the fruit around a stage by flinging your character around like a pinball three times. It will then bounce off walls and ball bumpers rolling around going where you told it and if you collect all the fruit within your three turns you proceed to the next stage, if not, game over. It’s a really easy to understand idea and will also record how far you’ve got and highest scores of you and your friends.

The game play elements are a mixed pot of Bust-a-Move style ball flinging with Pinball style physics and Pac-Man fruit collection. It truly is an original flash game that’s hard to give a close analogy for.

Everything plays well – the character moves the way you would expect so the psychics have been tightly put in place. The only problem I have is the random levels the game throws at you. While it’s easier for the developer to randomize levels, it completely throws strategy out the window for the player and replaces it with luck – and that’s a bad move in a game where the main draw is to beat your previous score.

An example of this is on the first level you could, at one point, get the fruit which is easy to collect nicely put together, but the next time you may get them in a position you just can’t get to easily and your game ends. It lacks a certain amount of balance, though it’s probably not too severe for most players.

The game features achievements which contain awards for things like getting to level 10, scoring 10,000 points with one ball and completing a level in one ball – but once again where luck is involved, it makes these achievements seem less of an actual achievement, as anyone could eventually unlock them through playing enough. Achievements should be exactly that, something that takes skill to achieve, not luck.

Another nice feature put in by Large Animal Games is the shop. Players accumulate credits through playing the game and can spend them on new skins for their character in game, including version of a pirate, Wonder Woman, Master Chief (Halo’s main character), Obama and McCain. The character will take some time to purchase, unless your happy spending real money for some credits.

All in all, Bumper Stars is a good game that is currently in Beta with a few issues to work out. I enjoyed playing it but it lacks the draw to keep you coming back unless you can convince some other people to join in with you.