Bulba The Cat (iPhone) Game Review: It’s All In The Controls

There was a time when Nintendo DS game developers put in touch screen controls into their games simply because the touch screen was “there”, even though it would have been better to just use the physical buttons on the DS. The results were often players felt that the controls were tacked on and not well thought of. It’s the same way I’m feeling now about Bulba The Cat for the iPhone.

The game is a platformer featuring a bouncing cat with the objective of collecting all the pieces of sushi in a level. In order to get him to move, players will need to tilt the iPhone left, right, forward and backwards. Sometimes players will need to make Bulba jump across gaps and this is where I have a problem with the game. You’ll need to “flick” the iPhone, as opposed to just tilting it, taking your eyes away from the screen and practically making the move a leap of faith.

Furthermore, the hard you flick the phone will determine how far Bulba will jump, so if the platform you want to land on is just a small piece of screen real estate and you over do it, it’s a restart right at the beginning of the level. There are no series of checkpoints and any slip-ups late in a level is sure to illicit a cry of frustration from even the most persistent player.

Other aspects of the game are thankfully not as grating as the two problems mentioned above, in fact, I love the game’s graphics. Rendered in 3D, everything looks cheery and cute, like the beach level from a Mario Kart game (the platforms are surrounded by water). The menu items tend to have the word “cat” or anything feline massaged into them; I guess the developers must really love cats.

Another nice touch is that players are free to select which levels to play, and there are 60 challenging levels in the game and all this for a USD 0.99 game. Talk about value for money. In any case, Bulba The Cat is a pretty decent platformer, and while the controls are an acquired taste, it deserves a shot (since you can always skip the levels that are giving you grief). Check it out over at the App Store: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/bulba-the-cat/id404137454?mt=8. Nine Over Ten 9/10 awards Bulba The Cat 3/5 STARS.

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