Battle Bears is a cool franchise featuring a burly bear named Oliver. He is the Rambo of the forest, and comes with the same kind of cheesy one-liner insights as Ash from Evil Dead. Oliver has had to face his worst fears for years now, and that is being cuddled to death by Huggables. These are teddies set out to hug, kiss and generally smother all living beings into a pool of lovely cotton candy.
Battle Bears Blast is advertised as a casual shooter, and that is a really good description. Oliver has been surrounded by the too good to be true Huggables, and has to defend himself, and his honor. The game is controlled by a simple one-finger scheme. Simply aim, and Oliver fires a microwave to blast the Huggables into smithereens. Instead of having a ray of rainbows flowing out of beheaded bears you get to pop the heads in Battle Bears Blast. It might sound gross, but there is really nothing gory about it. The faces grow slightly, and then they pop and vanish.
The controls are easy to get into, and work moderately well. At times the fact that your finger of choice gets in the way of the action makes it harder to aim. Most of the time the action is all over the place in front of Oliver, and it is just a matter of prioritizing the targets. That can be done even without full view, as the bears are rather large when they approach. Other objects to aim for are birds that give different powerups such as double score and slowed down enemies. There is also one object that you are not allowed to fire at: Wil. He seems to get in the way quite often, and the most common reason to get a game over.
There are two game modes on offer in Battle Bears Blast: 60 seconds, and survival. To me the 60 seconds mode is perfect, as it gives a perfect frame to improve scores within. Survival is harder to get as hooked on, as you never know if you will last 10 seconds or five minutes when you start a new game. 60 seconds of casual blasting fun can easily turn into 20 or 30 retries in one sitting.
Completing set tasks unlocks stuff to dress up Oliver in using the backpack menu. New microwave ovens changes the gameplay slightly altering enemy speeds, point multipliers and so on. It also lets you choose the scenery where it all takes place.
The presentation is quite simple, and there hasn’t been much development since the first game of the series. It does however look better than dual stick shooter Battle Bears -1. The graphics are something that could be improved upon in my opinion. Still it is not something that bothers me when the screen starts to fill up with cuddlies to kill. The sound effects are suitable to the game with a nice synthesized female voice giving some feedback at times.
Battle Bears Blast is a blast to play, and manages to fill a void in the market with a casual shooter gameplay. With achievements and leaderboards through Game Center this is one of those games I can see myself trying to beat my friends at for quite some time. The addictive nature of the quick 60 seconds mode counters the aspects of the game that are rather shallow such as there being only one weapon. I have a blast playing Blast, and I think most iOS gamers will as well.
Battle Bears Blast $0.99
Seller: SkyVy Pictures Inc.