Have you ever seen the sun?
If you have ever flown close to the sun you might know what it is made from. Most flew too close, and were swallowed up not by heat but by goo. Yes it is true, the sun is not a star, but rather a massive mass of radiant yellow jelly. It is the Sunjelly that powers our small speck of the universe. When you catch sun by the beach it is not rays of light, but rather fragments of jelly that heats your body and rejuvenates your soul.
Now something terrible has happened, otherwise there wouldn’t be a game. The Sunjelly has been shattered into a gazillion pieces, and has to be reassembled to bring light, and joy to the world. Armed with a cannon, and an army of happy black Burblings you accept the task. The world depends on you, and your trigger finger.
Jelly Cannon Reloaded is a physics puzzler where you have to make the jelly blob touch to clear the levels. All jelly has to form a larger piece, and none can be lost. Simple enough limitations to the game. To move, and affect the jelly and objects you have a stationary cannon. Depending on how far from the cannon you let you the strength of the blast is determined. Quite basic stuff in the physics puzzle genre, and Ragdoll Blaster is perhaps most known for it.
You fire black Burblings that can smash into objects, but also weigh down baskets and lifts. There is a good balance between smashing shots, and precise lobs that have to roll down a crevice for example. The level score is determined on how many Burblings you have to use to connect all jelly. It can be daunting to get three stars on all levels, and I soon found myself replaying levels when I felt that two stars weren’t good enough.
The highlight of the game for me is definitely the diverse level design. Most physics puzzlers tend to always throw more of the same at me. Every new level adds something little extra, but they are still derivative of the one prior. In Jelly Cannon Reloaded there is great variation from one level to the next. Where one might demand a precise shot that I have to retry a couple of times to nail right on the money, the next might demand less precision but instead I have to figure out how to move a basket without killing a jelly, and then third might demand two quick precise shots to mash jellies together mid-air. This diversity made med stick to the game like jelly to jelly. Thankfully there is a massive amount of levels in the game, and I didn’t beat it in my first sitting. That is another issue I have with a lot of the games from this genre, once you get it you beat it. Not the case at all here, as the game combines skill with strategy.
Nickelodeon is involved in the creation of the world, and concept of Jelly Cannon Reloaded. At times I do get this influence, as the presentation is colourful and would without a shadow of a doubt make it into the Nickelodeon program with ease. On the other hand there is nothing that specifically tells me this is a partnership with such a large TV channel, and broadcasting company. No known characters are included, and it is a shame because this game could just as well have been made by anyone with enough skill in making bright sparkly graphics.
The cute jellies, and Blurblings are well animated with expressions and squishy physics. There is however a definite lack of difference other than the size, and fact that some are hanging off nails. I would have liked enemies, or some weird mentor jelly or something. Back to the fact that someone from Nickelodeon has been involved I find it really strange that there aren’t more sings of creativity.
The music is there without making much of an impact, as is the sound effects. Here is another missed opportunity where the jellies, or Blurblings could have been induced with personality. Just look at what the small voice snippets do for the wiggly worms in Worms.
At the end of the day Jelly Cannon Reloaded succeeds where it matters: it is fun. From the first levels to the 75th I had a blast. With variation between levels, and some really challenging shots it is easy to get hooked for hours. There is IAP to buy a level-clearing magnet Jelly, but I never had to purchase one or use the one that I got for free from the game. Where the game suffers is in the personality department where it should have shone given the creative portfolio of the people involved.
Jelly Cannon Reloaded $0.99 Universal for iPad/iPhone/iPod
Seller: Chillingo Ltd.