There’s something to be said about the simple things in life. Every now and then, the uncomplicated and downright straightforward is greeted with open arms - especially when it comes to video games. As gamers, a lot of us have grown accustomed to memorising finicky controls that, when a title has gathered a healthy amount of dust, are easily forgotten and have us sheepishly fumbling to the options screen for that all-important diagram of the controller. Bouncy Bob, however, does away with such worry; the only button to press is 'A'.
Holding down 'A' grants Bob with a metronome-esque launch arrow that fires him in the desired direction (similar to launching one of those Angry Birds) when 'A' is released. Mash said button while Bob is airborne and he’ll flutter his puny arms giving that little extra distance to reach platforms and other hard-to-reach areas. It’s a heavily simplistic approach for navigation and proves to be fun with a chain of successfully executed jumps and well-timed launches. Spiked walls and chasms are deployed in all but the first arena to put a stop to mindless Bob-launching, but no layout of hazards become an integral challenge to overcome when fending off waves of zombies.
In the 15-or-so arenas, you'll encounter a lacklustre selection of continually-spawning enemies that hone in toward Bob and want to take a nibble from his health bar. From zombie rabbits to spear-throwing skeletons (and exploding bats), it’s Bob’s job to wobble his way over and trample on the head’s of the enemy to rid them. Reaching the quota of kills will unlock the next arena.
Unfortunately, that lack of variety starts to chip away at Bouncy Bob's replay value. The game’s premise is as simple as the control method, which is troublesome as we manage to clear all the stages in just over an hour. The repetitive soundtrack doesn’t help the situation either with only a handful of short, looping tunes cropping up that will see you grabbing the TV remote and turning down the volume in favour of your own music. Still, it may be to some tastes, but the game could do with a bigger playlist.
There are some power-ups to obtain in each area that, when used with a screen full of bad guys, can enable a sure fire way to wipe out a ton of the undead. Laser beams, bombs, arrows and a few others are locked in timed boxes that offer a small degree of strategy in the later arenas, but none are satisfying to use and mistakenly bounding into one isn’t enough of a punishment to warrant a level restart.
Bouncy Bob does have a multiplayer mode, which gives us a brief moment of hope that the title might redeem itself by being one of those games to break out with a few friends over, but it’s a weak affair and one that’s very easily forgotten. There are no enemies in sight when playing with more than one Bob; it's just a case of scrambling to bounce on your buddy's head. With only five arenas to bounce around, playtime is short-lived and not helped by software crashes when loading up the next round.
Bouncy Bob attempts to demonstrate how a simple idea of a one-button control mechanic can be fun and accessible. But it's met with shortfalls aplenty. Rather than being an attractive and accessible gimmick, it’s a painfully restraining annoyance and, although quashing a row of enemies can be satisfying, being given the one method to play quickly becomes a chore. Granted, the eShop isn’t awash with one-button titles - and Bouncy Bob stands out for this reason – but this title may be an example as to why this is the case.