iPhone Life magazine

Review: Bubble Pig by Donut Games

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – Donut Games is the king of causal arcade games.  They often manage to take a silly premise and turn it into quite the enjoyable product, which is exactly the case with Bubble Pig.  The idea of an overweight pig bouncing around a forest consuming everything edible in sight and avoiding foxes doesn’t really sound all that enthralling, but when you put the patent Donut Games spin on it the game becomes both interesting and quite challenging.  I’m not going to put this at the top of the Donut Games’ chart, but it certainly has their trademark quality level.

Having A Blast (Off)
 

It seems all the lights have gone out in the forest, and naturally a swelled up swine is the perfect choice for righting this wrong.  You’re just the porker for the job, but you have a slight problem where you can’t stop moving.  Worse yet, you’re not just running but you’re actually bouncing.  Thankfully this can work to your advantage, but it can also create some interesting challenges.  Your task is to bounce through the forest, pressing all buttons in each level so every light goes on.  Along the way you’ll collect fruit, cupcakes, and even the occasional stash of coins.  Tigger would be jealous.

There are also a variety of objects along the way that can help or hinder your progress, or sometimes both.  Things like moving platforms, spikes and clouds that disappear after one touch can make your landings tricky.  Pipes give you quick access to opposite ends of the board, and springs give you a boost in the upwards direction.  It’s all pretty much your standard platform fare, but Donut Games does a good job of putting it to use in creative ways.  The one bad guy I’ve run across so far is the pesky fox, though they’ll come at you in a variety of different manners, whether it’s on a single wheel, springs attached to their feet or in a potato sack!  You can pick up a suit of amour to protect you from one accidental brush with a fox, but for the most part they’re bad news, even if you bounce on their heads.

Tanks For The Memories
 

To control the pig you just tap the left or right sides of the screen to bounce in the appropriate direction.  The length of the jump is determined by how long you hold, though don’t expect to go flying across the entire level if you never let go.  Everything else is determined by where you bounce.  The game has 40 levels to complete and 28 achievements to earn, so it will keep you busy for a little while. There’s no infinite mode like a number of Donut Games’ other platformers have, but I don’t think you’ll miss it as you occupy yourself scouring certain levels to figure out how to access the “secret” areas that are in plain sight.

The graphics are on par with most of their other offerings.  That is to say they are well drawn, colorful and quite detailed.  There are also the nice little touches they like to add such as leaves falling when you bounce on a branch or fixtures swaying when you first press a button to turn on a group of lights.  The sound effects are decent, though the few noises the pig makes aside from bouncing are a bit odd.  So far I think I’m able to pick out two different musical tracks, and while they are similar they keep the audio from getting boring.

Coins Everywhere
 

I tip my virtual hat off to Donut Games.  They have a knack for coming up with simple concepts that are entertaining, easy to get into and hard to master.  The visuals are always polished and detailed, and the music usually makes good background noise.  The three star ranking system gives you reason to keep coming back once you’ve completed all the levels (unless you torture yourself by not finishing a level without three stars), and there are even a decent number of achievements to boot.  As long as they keep turning out selections like this I’ll be a fan.

Overall Score: 9/10
App Store Link

This game was reviewed on an iPod Touch 4G running iOS 5.1.1.

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Eric Pankoke has been a gamer for more than 20 years. He began with arcade games, moving to consoles and eventually handhelds and Pocket PCs. Now he spends most of his time on one of his iOS devices. Eric has written more than 700 gaming reviews, which have appeared on a number of gaming websites as well as several issues of both Smartphone & Pocket PC and iPhone Life magazines. He regularly contributes to iphonelife.com and TouchMyApps. Ultimately he hopes to eventually develop games himself for whatever the hot mobile device is when he finally gets moving.