Buka is a lovely creature floating around in space, all starving for someone to love her. Luckily you, and your iPhone can help her out. Buka is in search of the Happy Place where she won’t get attacked by baddies that are bad.
Buka is the cutest game I have encountered for the iPhone so far, and I am not afraid to say that I like it. Yes bearded hairy men can enjoy helping blue circular creatures finding their Happy Place in space; it is nothing wrong with that. Is it?
The movement of Buka is either controlled by tilting the iPhone or by dragging her around the screen. You can tap around baddies to create energy twirls guiding them away from Buka. Or better still hold your finger on screen for a while, and release to incinerate the baddies. Bigger baddies divide into smaller ones that you can create explosions to kill. Once in a while baddies drop green pickups giving Buka health or you some extra points. You have to guide Buka to the pickup before it floats away into space.
The baddies are basically smileys gone bad that floats towards you at different speeds. As mentioned you have to split bigger ones to be able to kill them. You can also choose to push them away but that will lower your score. After each level you get an evaluation showing how many you killed out of the total number of baddies.
What sets Buka apart from other explode stuff in space games is the tone of the game and the audio. If you have played Chibi-Robo for the GameCube or the Nintendo DS you will feel right at home with Buka. If you haven’t played any Chibi-Robo game I suggest you do so right away, start with Chibi-Robo Park Patrol for the DS. The chitter chatter is so cute in Buka, and the things she says resonate well with Chibi-Robo or other Japanese cutesy games.
There are two game modes: story mode and survival mode. In story mode you progress through space in search of the Happy Place. It is really fun and challenging trying to keep Buka alive among all the baddies.
Survival mode is basically you versus baddies, and you have to protect Buka for as long as possible. When Buka dies you get rated in how many baddies you have killed, your accuracy and the happiness of Buka. Sadly I can’t find any high scores anywhere in the game making this game mode more or less redundant in my opinion.
Baddies hurt Buka, help Buka find Happy Place. Buka so happy, happy to have new friend. I really think that everyone should at least try the lite version to get what I am saying. It is truly strange, and beautiful at the same time.
Presentation and graphics
Buka is cute, so are baddies. Baddies hurt Buka, Buka looks hurt, Buka feels hurt. Nice explosions, and animations as you push baddies away.
The background is a bit too black and boring. The story being told in speech bubbles by Buka works really well.
I love the sound, totally love it. It is cute, and makes no sense at all in a kind of space creature looking for a Happy Place kind of way. The music is ambient electronica perfect for the game. You can’t play your own music.
At heart Buka is not different from dozens of other tap to kill games in the App Store. But the sense of humour, and tone of the game really affect the game play and turns the experience into something unique.
The controls work well with one exception really, and that is that is that when using touch controls it is hard to zap baddies and drag Buka around at the same time. Using tilt to move makes the game much easier to master.
Once you complete the story mode there is not much left to do in Buka as the survival mode lacks high scores to beat.
There are no achievements or unlockables in Buka.
Buka is one of the best purchases I have made at $1.99; it is silly, cute and plays well. Try the lite version to see if you have the same cute taste as me.