Being a console gamer primarily, I was excited to give the new iOS auto-scroller Bambosher a shot, the premier game from Saurus Productions. Plus, it was free; and who can say no to free things? Given its charming art style and somewhat contrived story, I conclude that Bambosher is a mediocre game with potential. Here I’ll say why and delineate some ways it can improve.
Sally’s a prep school bully. At her old school, she was chief among the bullies. But now she’s at Stalwart Elementary, and she’s insecure. With the help of new recruits Bruno and Maxo, Sally decides to reiterate her dominance over her peers rather than change her ways. Fellow student and protagonist Winston steps up to combat the bullies and reclaim the peace of Stalwart Elementary.
Bambosher chronicles the heroism of Winston, a stalwart student in almost every respect. The story’s nice and simple. Evil ruins an otherwise good place, hero contradicts evil’s oppression, and hero reclaims peace of said place. Simple story notwithstanding, it feels contrived. Nothing feels natural. Winston feels forced into the protagonist role, so his anticipated victory over the new bullies at Stalwart feels forced.
To be sure, Bambosher’s an auto-runner. And auto-runners don’t really need good stories. That said, the story is good; it just feels forced. The story feels more like a statement on anti-bullying than setup for a game about bullying.
Concerning gameplay, Bambosher keeps it simple. Winston runs through the school, spitballing and dodging bullies and other obstacles. The player will leap over chairs, jump on bullies, duck under banners, and collect coins along the way. From the main menu, the player can shop for upgrades or toggle the sound and music.
Being an iOS mobile game, the player can expect in-app purchase options. But they’re only to purchase more coins to spend in the upgrade store, which is my biggest complaint about the game. The upgrades themselves may not be too expensive, but they’re not worth the purchase. For example, the first shield upgrade costs about 500 coins. However, during gameplay, the shield hardly comes around, making the purchase of an upgrade seem futile. It might be more convenient if these power-ups could be accessed immediately for a time by the player rather than grabbing them when they scroll by.
Without reserve, the graphics are my favorite part about this game. The art is reminiscent of an elementary school chalk board come to life. I appreciate that the developers set the main characters apart from others with certain colors and styles. In fact, the game’s rough chalky edges smacks of the old Nickelodeon show ChalkZone. This gives the game a certain youthful charm and provides an appropriate visual setting for the story.
For the most part, sound seems a mixed bag. The sound effects, such as spitballing and knocking against bullies, are clean and decently mixed. Whoever composed the theme song has a fascinating ear for music. The jazz fusion chord changes coupled with the pulsing four-on-the-floor drum beat make for a tight techno theme.
However, this is the only song on the soundtrack and it isn’t very long. The song replays every thirty seconds or so. And there is an awkward split second of silence between replays that offsets the player’s listening experience. I would suggest the developers compose more songs. Compose a main menu theme, a few gameplay tracks, an upgrade store jingle, and so on. This would add some neat variety to the game, breaking up the monotony of a one-track soundtrack.
Given that the game is simply constructed and simply executed, it’s easy to pick up and doesn’t require much brain work. This would also make it easy to replay on long subway rides or during waiting times.
However, its replayability is lacking, given also its monotonous soundtrack and the gameplay. The rewards aren’t worth the time or energy. Also, though I enjoy the theme song, there needs to be more variety to the game’s soundscape. Other games kill time better, I think.