Many games on the App Store have short, casual-oriented levels and feature a memorable cartoon avatar. And lots of these games use a free- or cheap-to-play pay model, but with pay-to-win options. At a glance, Bloons 2 might look like a generic casual but greedy game, but it’s not. Bloons has been around for a while, starting as a Flash game online, and it’s continued to evolve with touch screen devices. Bloons 2, the newest update to the original gameplay, shows that Bloons hasn’t lost its appeal.
The basics of Bloons 2 are pretty simple. Your monkey throws darts at a field of floating balloons in front of him. You must pop the target number of balloons necessary to advance. However, there are several variables that each level will play with, adding to the difficulty. For instance, you may have a limited number of darts or an obstacle preventing you from getting to all of the balloons. Or, you might hit a trap ice balloon that flash-freezes nearby balloons, preventing you from popping them. All of these obstacles will stand between you and balloon domination.
Better than bubble wrap.
Throwing your darts is pretty simple: You just drag your finger across the screen to adjust the arc and the strength of your throw. It’s important to remember that you can touch anywhere on the screen, not just the monkey, so you have plenty of room to adjust your throw. There’s also a Max Power button, which means throwing your dart as hard as possible at those pesky balloons.
The game’s divided into different worlds, each of which introduces new traps and allows you to gain mastery over them. There’s a smooth difficulty curve, but soon things start to become seriously challenging, which is the real appeal of the game. You need not just good hand-eye coordination, but also a plan for how to achieve success. You get a score for each level, so you can keep replaying to get the highest score possible.
Laser monkey to the rescue.
If you get stuck, you can use one of your two cheats. You can use a solution cheat, which shows you how to beat the level and then leaves you to actually do it for yourself. If it’s still too much, you can cheat by shooting infinite laser beams at the balloons until they’re all gone with the help of a sunglasses-wearing monkey. When you first start the game, you get one of each cheat, but if you want more, you’ll have to purchase them with real cash. These spoil the challenge of the game, and rid you of the thrill of victory once you finally beat that all-too-difficult level, but we guess spending two bucks on a skip is better than stomping on your brand new iPod touch with the heel of your boot.
Bloons 2 is impressive on many levels, with polished graphics and a solid physics engine. Add in dozens of challenging, puzzle-based levels, and you have a casual game you could be playing on the fly for weeks or months.