Simogo Brings a Bit of Charm to iOS With Bumpy Road

Swedish company Simogo is a small iOS developer who has brought a bit of charm to the iOS platforming genre with its new title, Bumpy Road on both the iPhone and iPad devices. Appearing yesterday on the top paid apps list, the game finds itself now at #42 for iPhone and #25 on iPad. Released May 19th, the $2.99 game has also ranked in at #58 and #69, respectively on the top grossing iOS apps lists.

A side-scrolling iOS platformer where players control the terrain itself to move the avatar about, Bumpy Road is a game that has a very unique and charming style. Its sound and visuals evoke the streets of Paris. Somewhat difficult to control at first, the game takes some getting used to, and actually plays more easily on the iPhone rather than the iPad. Like many of its ilk, however, such as Chop Chop Runner, the staying power for this game is fairly limited. But as a mobile title, can provide amusement for short spurts of time.

Players control a cartoonish pair of elderly individuals out for a car trip. In the app’s primary game mode, Evergreen Ride, players must carefully guide the couple’s car as far as possible without them falling into any holes or pools of water.

Like many iOS platformers, the game automatically scrolls to the right. Unlike predecessors where players often have no control over their avatar’s speed, this game gives users a little bit of power. The key gimmick to Bumpy Road is that players can touch the road itself to create a bump that will slide left and right with one’s finger like a set of piano keys. This bump will control the relative speed of the couple’s car based on its distance in front of or behind it. Consider it like making an artificial hill for the car to roll down.

As the game is a platformer, users can jump by tapping the ground directly beneath the car. They can then jump farther and higher by creating a bump behind the car, to pick up speed, and then tapping beneath it. This is used to clear the many pitfalls that exist, but to also jump to platforms and collect “Gizmos,” that act as fuel for the vehicle. As one might surmise, running out of fuel also equates to failure.

Because the levels appear to be procedurally-generated, each level is never exactly the same twice. Once a level is completed, scores are tallied based on distance, Gizmos collected, switches hit, and so on. This gets submitted to Game Center leaderboards.

In Bumpy Road’s other game mode, Sunday Trip, players have all the same basic controls, yet there are no hazards. In this shorter mode, players must merely travel from Point A to Point B in the fastest time possible, using item pickups such as speed boosts or timer pauses to help out. This is then recorded in a leaderboard via Game Center. Since Game Center is integrated into Bumpy Road, this also means that players can spend time unlocking various achievements as well.

Though Game Center adds a bit of longevity to the game, most players will probably play in order to collect photographs that occasionally appear in the Evergreen Ride mode. These items can then be used to view the story behind the Bumpy Road couple.

Overall, while the entertainment value of Bumpy Road might be short-lived for some, it is still a quality side-scrolling platformer. It’s also nice to see a game that is challenging and unique for its genre. Here, the platforming challenge is about finesse, instead of just making the screen move faster. Original, and charmingly styled, Bumpy Road is a game that shows that older iOS genres don’t have to be formulaic.