Bopscotch is a bright and cheery platformer developed by Leda Entertainment in which the aim of the game is to jump from platform to platform controlling a small blue ball, in a Mario meets Kirby sort of fashion, collecting sweets and avoiding traps along the way.
The idea of the game is simple – playing as “Bopper”, a blue ball with a happy outlook and yellow gloves, you must traverse each level by jumping from stage to stage collecting sweets and avoiding a variety of traps that will cause you to unceremoniously pop, forcing you to start the level from the beginning. As you play each level you pass signpost that will either speed Bopper up or slow him down, which obviously has an immediate impact on the difficulty of each level, and as such frustration can quickly creep in when you know you are approaching the end of a level and one cleverly placed trap sends you packing back to the start to do the whole level again.
The game starts with a simple tutorial that explains controls, how to move and adjust your speed so that you can clear the obstacles in your path, collecting sweets and smashing wooden crates by jumping into them. Signposts will up your speed or slow you down as you pass by them, and some will change the direction you are moving. If you stumble across a level that is presenting any real difficulty for you you can skip levels, providing you have found Golden Tickets scattered throughout each level, the single use level pass, something you will find yourself using more than once as behind the cheery exterior, Bopscotch will frustrate you as you near a trap that has previously killed you, only for you to die again in the same fashion.
Playing on the version released via the Xbox Live Indie Games platform, the game is simple in both it aesthetics and controls – left and right, A to jump – but it can still be fun for quick bursts. There is nothing here that is going to challenge any seasoned gamers, but younger players might find something to enjoy in a game that harks back to a long gone day of bright, colourful platformers that were abundant during the NES era. That’s not to say Bopscotch feels dated in any way, but Call of Duty fans might find something lacking in both challenge and appeal of a game like this.
Playing on the Xbox 360 the game didn’t present any real difficulties in the simple act of moving left and right and jumping, with the controller simplifying the controls and the large screen TV helping to see traps in advance, but alongside it’s release on 360 via XBLIG, Bopscotch is also available for both Android and iOS, which might up the difficulty somewhat by playing on a smaller screen. I felt that the fact that this is a mobile game that has also been released on the 360 does show, the simple graphics and gameplay both giving away the fact that this is essentially feels like a mobile game.
Leda have added some other features, but these only feel superficial add ons when playing on a console – you can customise your “Bopper”, changing its colour and appearance, and there is the option to play either Adventure mode or the two player race mode (local player only, not via Xbox Live), features that are a bonus on mobile but just feel lacking on console.
Bopscotch is a game that I found I would play in short little bursts before the jingly music drove me insane or simply before I got bored with the quite repetitive gameplay, and so playing on a mobile platform might hold more appeal for some. Also, as Bopscotch has been released via XBLIG it comes without the appeal of any Achievements to be earned, which might be just enough to put off those willing to pay even the £1.99 price tag when it is available for free on mobile (although it does offer in-app purchases). Given the option, I think I would have preferred to have played this game on my mobile than on my 360 for the quick, pick up and play attraction that it offers.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Microsoft Xbox 360 code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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