Gamers who grew up in the 80s and 90s have plenty of memories playing incredibly difficult titles, the Contras and Ghosts 'N Goblins of the world that chewed up virtual heroes without mercy. That's in stark contrast with today's games, filled with generous checkpoints and recharging health. With this in mind, consumers who look at youngsters and begin rants with "back in my day" will shed a virtual tear at Bobbing, a punishing iOS and Android effort from developer Little Bobby.
Similar to many NES, Genesis and Super Nintendo games, the premise is simple enough. A strange-looking character wanders through levels that rotate 360 degrees, and the goal is to somehow get this "hero" to the finish line without falling into what appears to be lava or getting trapped at the very top of the screen.
Success involves gravity manipulation. Tap the left side of the screen to walk upside down, then tap again to go right side up. There's also a color-switching mechanic that allows you to pass through doorways. Again, once to change colors (blue to pink, for instance) and again to change back.
Simple on paper, mind-meltingly tough once you set everything in motion. The level moves by itself, more or less, and you may only have one chance to switch colors, travel through a portal or rebound off a specially marked node that changes direction. Die, as you often will, and the game sends you back to the beginning of the stage; at least on the positive side, levels are relatively brief.
If your experience with this game mirrors ours, then you'll quickly fall victim to the "just one more try" syndrome, which ultimately turns the minutes played per day into an hour. Maybe even longer, considering DJ Sigmao injected the game with a cool head-tapping soundtrack.
Our only complaint involves pausing and then restarting the game, with zero time in between to regain one's bearings; fixable in an update perhaps. Aside from that relatively small issue, Bobbing is one of the most challenging games we've played. It would have felt right at home on classic consoles. That being said, it's a great fit for iOS and Android devices.
What's Hot:Intensely challenging gameplay, quality soundtrack from DJ Sigmao, user-friendly touch controls.
What's Not:No time between pause and restart.