Review by Matt Dunn
BiiBall is the 6th game release from the mysterious Bootant studios. All the games released by Bootant so far seem to hold to the same colorful, cel-shaded motif. They also seem to be generally well-accepted in the iPhone community. Will they deliver on this reputation with BiiBall?
BiiBall is a very simple game. The object is to roll your “bee” (ball with yellow and black strips) forward through a series of mazes, while collecting stars for points. As you progress through the game, your score is constantly decreasing. Luckily, there are enough stars as you roll along to keep the score steadily rising. This was done to encourage you to beat the levels as fast as you can.
You steer your BiiBall by tilting the iPhone, and you can control the speed of the ball by tilting forward or backward. It will take you some time to get used to the steering, as it seems to be a bit quirky at times. I found that on the levels where sharp turns are required, you have to come to almost a complete stop, and turn the iPhone almost completely vertical to make it. This can get frustrating, as you tend to feel like you can’t quite turn hard enough to make it past some obstacles.
To make things a bit more challenging, Bootant has added some boxes that contain items through the levels. If you run into the box, you lose a life, so you must shoot them out of your way. You can shoot the direction your ball is facing by tapping the screen on the bottom left or right, or you can touch the main display area to shoot in the direction you tap. Shooting appears to have no effect on your score.
As with the rest of their games, Bootant has used their bright and colorful graphics engine in BiiBall. The cell-shading is subtle and pleasing, and the game is very clear and good-looking. I experienced very little frame rate issues, even with a lot of stars and objects on the screen The sound was a bit disappointing, as it is simply recycled from their previous games. There is also no music, or the option to play your own while you play.
There are a few strange/frustrating aspects of BiiBall that were quite perplexing to me. The first is the complete lack of a continue option. When you lose your lives, you’re done. You must start completely at the beginning. There isn’t a level selector, or any other options for that matter – not even the ability to calibrate the accelerometer (which would have helped this game’s controls).
There also is no high score list. Granted, your highest score is kept at the top right of the screen as a target to go for, but just one, and nothing else. The in-game options consist of starting a new game, pausing, and muting the sound. That’s it.
Presentation & Graphics: 7
The graphics in BiiBall have a pleasant, colorful, cel-shaded look, and the frame-rate doesn’t suffer from the engine at all. It’s too bad some items and graphics/textures have been recycled from previous games though, and overall the mazes are sometimes a bit too scarce looking.
It appears that no effort went into making interesting and original sound for this game. Every sound effect, all 5 of them, have been recycled from previous titles. Although the little sound at the beginning of each new level is strangely satisfying…
The game is mildly entertaining at best. It’s fairly easy to pick up and play when you want to kill a few minutes, and it doesn’t take long to get used to the controls. However, some frustrations with tilt controls could make you put it down in that much time as well.
Game life: 2
I honestly can’t think of any reason to come back to this game, because every time you come back to it, you’re starting from the very beginning! No level selection, unlockable extras, multiplayer, or online leadersboards. No thanks.
Game rating: 4
BiiBall 3D is priced right at $.99. (54BGP). There is not much to this game, and unless Bootant feels generous, I doubt much more will be added. It looks pretty, and is the kind of game you can hand to your friends to show them how cool your iPhone is. Seems more like a hastily made engine demo than a full game.