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    cjvitek's Avatar
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    Default Review: RagDoll Blaster 2, by Backflip Studios

    Ragdoll Blaster 2, by Backflip Studios
    $2.99, ****1/2


    • Fun puzzle game
    • Unique gameplay and theme
    • Nice graphics

    • No hints available

    It seems like every time you think that “puzzle-solving” apps, where you have to work around a difficult game level using strategy, have run out of ideas, they come along with a new concept that takes the genre somewhere new. One such game is RagDoll Blaster 2. Now, as you can guess from the name, it is a sequel to the original RagDoll Blaster. I never tried that one, but decided to give this one a try.

    The concept of RagDoll Blaster 2 is simple. You have a RagDoll Blaster gun, that shoots…ragdolls. Your goal is to shoot the target with a ragdoll, and then move on to the next level. Now, that sounds pretty easy, but there are lots of things that get in your way. At the simplest, you have to figure out how to direct your shot to get to the target. At the most complex, you have black holes, buttons and switches, lasers, warp gates, magnets, and many other things that will get in your way. Each level is somewhat different and in some cases, the levels can require a bit of thought about how to shoot the target.

    I will tell you right away, my favorite things about this game is shooting the ragdolls. The developers have put together a realistic physics engine, so as you shoot your ragdoll, the limbs go flying, it bounces off walls, and when it eventually comes to a rest, it just sort of lays there like a limp sack of potatoes. The physics are quite realistic, which is critical for this kind of game.

    The gameplay itself is very easy to pick up. You can control both the direction and the speed of the ragdoll gun – simply tapping the screen indicates where it will shoot, and the distance from the gun indicates the force of the shot. And that is critical – sometimes you need a weak shot, sometimes you need to shoot at full strength. One nice feature is that you can see where you tapped on the screen last – in case you want to repeat that shot (or modify it for your next shot).

    The overall graphics are very nice and clean. It isn’t a colorful or splashy app – in fact in mostly uses browns (for the dolls, for the boxes, for the backgrounds). But the images are nicely drawn and very easy to see on the retina display. The scenery looks like something out of a machine world – gears, metal walls, boxes, you feel like you can almost hear a steam whistle in the background and smells the various oil and grease compounds.

    The levels themselves vary in difficulty. Some of them are pretty straightforward; others can require a significant amount of time and strategy to figure out. There were a few times that I felt like I finished a level simply by pushing ahead (and firing as many ragdolls as possible, basically getting lucky with a bounce here or there) but that strategy will probably result in a lower score overall. There were times I would very much has liked a hint or clue as an option, simply because I felt I had tried everything possible to get past a certain level – it would be nice to see this incorporated, but at the same time I can understand not including it because it may get overused. There is a distinct satisfaction to solving a level that has been giving you a hard time.

    The very first level is something of a tutorial, guiding you through the basics of how to use your blaster, how to circumvent certain obstacles, and how to deal with certain features of the landscape (like switches and black holes). While some of the tutorial was pretty obvious, I do think it is beneficial overall because it does give you some ideas how to deal with more complex levels.

    All in all, this is a fun, well designed puzzle-style app. Overall the game play is easy to pick up, and there is a significant amount of strategy you need to employ to pass certain levels. While some levels seem very difficult to surpass, that may simply be an indication you need to put the app down for a while. At $2.99, the app is reasonably priced, and delivers on the fun. Four and a half out of five stars.

    Rating scale:

    * = No redeeming qualities or features, probably not worth it even if it is free
    ** = Few redeeming qualities, or is simply isn't worth the price
    *** = Some good features but also some clear flaws.
    **** = A solid app, worth the money if interested, a few flaws or problems or slightly overpriced
    ***** = Top of the line app, no problems or drawbacks.

    Price is factored into the ratings. Ratings are lowered if I feel the price of the app outweighs the benefits/enjoyment/features it provides. Likewise, an app that is a good value for the money will have a higher rating. Please comment on these reviews. If you own the app, tell me what your opinion is. If the review prompted you to buy (or not buy) the app, let me know why. If you want more information about the app, go ahead and ask.

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