Bumpy Road – review

This charming platformer will have you grinning from ear to ear, even if that is only for a few minutes at a time…

Bumpy road is the story of a couple, two people in their twilight years on a journey to recapture their fondest memories together. And how better a way to do that than quite literally take a trip down memory lane.

The object of the game is, much like Canabalt, to survive as long as possible. Though this game has a far slower pace than the latter. Levels consist of a piano style road which can be manipulated directly with your finger. Where every you touch you cause a bump, raising the little car and it’s elderly occupants up higher, tapping will pop the bump up quicker causing the car to jump. From here you can arch other platforms, useful for crossing water hazards and also for picking up the many objects and more importantly the memories available. The car continuously moves forward, as does the level in the other direction. Utilising the bump control, you can cause the car to slow or speed up by simply placing the bump offset to the car in either direction, a bit like a surfer on a wave.

bumpyroad_iphone_screen_04While it may feel far more leisurely, it’s no less challenging. in fact the slowness is sometimes the trickiest part. Especially when coming across the many water hazards without a platform above it to jump to, instead it all comes down to the speed that you are traveling and the timing at when you jump.

Travel far enough and you’ll experience different times in the day, as well as mini bonus speed levels. The main achievements to be had are collecting the memories, which can be played back in the main menu. There are many to collect and it will take a steady hand to collect them all. For me though, the pleasure of the game is purely experiencing it, and so the longer you can stay on the road, the better.

During my preview of Bumpy Road a month ago, only one mode, the main endless mode, was available. A second mode is now available called Sunday Drive. Here the object is to get to the finish line in the fastest time possible. Along the way you can pick up speed boosts, as well as clocks to wind time back a few valuable seconds. This mode does not feature any water hazards, and so being much easier it’s a fun distraction from the main game.

bumpyroad_iphone_screen_03The presentation is what really shines here. The way the road reacts to your touch is like row of piano keys, which do in fact respond to your touches with piano sound feedback. That and the many objects you collect all layer onto a great pixar-like soundtrack to provide a fantastic aural experience. This is polished off with some beautiful, yet simple, illustrative graphics, giving the whole thing a classic cartoon feel (the simplistic background designs reminding me of the early Pink Panther cartoons).

Bumpy Road is one of those games which, like Tiny Wings before it, oozes charm and sophistication, yet comes in such a small budget package. It’s proof that sometimes the simplest ideas have the most legs, or in this case wheels.



Bumpy Road is out now for $2.99 (£1.79) as a universal app for iPhone and iPad.

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  • Luke

    It looks cool, but only for about 5 minutes. I so wish it had a story, levels, etc…