For Backflip Studios, the evolution of the Ragdoll Blaster series is a clear marker of their progressive success. The first game featured simple pen-and-paper visuals, the second had a much more original steampunk look, and now the third has full-on 3D models. However, one thing has been consistent: quality level design. In the latest iteration of the series, this remains mostly true.
Ragdoll Blaster’s core gameplay is standard fare for ‘aim and launch’ games. You shoot ragdolls out of a cannon and try to hit a target with the fewest ragdolls possible, although you aren’t limited in the number you can use. Of course, there are some other elements put into play to shake things up such as clever level design, movable objects, bombs, and five types of ragdolls.
Button up, kids.
Each ragdoll has a different trait: There’s the classic ragdoll, an icy ragdoll that slides across the ground, an extra-large ‘pudge’ ragdoll, a fire ragdoll that sets wood platforms on fire, and a magnetic robot ragdoll. To use each ragdoll you must have the cannon for that type active. You can change which cannon is active by shooting a ragdoll from your active cannon into an inactive one. Taking advantage of the skillset of each ragdoll type is essential to solving puzzles.
A sixth ragdoll, dubbed the ‘rocket ragdoll’, is available for a one-time $0.99 in-app purchase. When activated, it allows you to skip a puzzle you’re stuck on. This can only be done once an hour. Don’t expect to need this, though, as the game doesn’t have too many super-challenging levels.
Which one’s the fulcrum again?
While there aren’t many challenging levels, those that are challenging are tough for the wrong reasons. Most of the levels are well designed, but some suffer from poor camera angles and out-of-sight targets. This is made worse by the lack of a camera pan option. The final level set, revolving around the robot ragdoll, can also be frustrating, as using the magnet ability is a chore. All of this said, the majority of Ragdoll Blaster 3’s puzzles are extremely polished.
Another new feature is a currency system that can be used to unlock ragdoll costumes. Each ragdoll has two costumes besides their normal look. The downside is that even the least expensive costumes are very pricey. We only unlocked three by the time we finished all 100 levels, and those were just the least expensive of the batch. You can purchase coins with real money if you choose, but there’s little reason to do so as the costumes are only aesthetic upgrades.
Ragdoll Blaster 3 is certainly a good game despite the abundance of similar games available. It adds a nice twist to an oversaturated genre that manages to hold up over 100 levels. That’s not to say it’s not formulaic; in fact it very much is, but the mostly outstanding level designs keep it fresh. If you’re into these kinds of games then pick this up.