Skybound, from Norwegian firm Tumbleweed Interactive, follows in the (vertical) footsteps of games like Up There and PapiJump Plus as a game that’s all about gaining altitude, although it has a look and feel all its own. We consider it a worthy addition to the genre.
Skybound presents you with a rubber bouncy ball, and asks you to draw platforms of clouds under it with your finger, deflecting it ever higher into the atmosphere with every bounce. You can affect the angle and height of the bounce by drawing crooked lines, which is good, because there are a lot of items to pursue (and avoid) on your way into space. Balloons and special clouds grant you an extra-high bounce, while bricks turn your ball red and deaden its agility for a short time.
The finger-drawing mechanic works well, and it takes some skill to set your platforms up with the quickness and accuracy necessary to keep climbing. We’re very fond of the game’s quirky hand-drawn graphics–particularly the swirly clouds and gorgeous oil paint backgrounds. There’s no music, but you can play your own iPod tunes.
We also like the game’s multiple play modes and extras: there’s an easy mode that gives you more leeway to screw up, a “boss mode” where you bop a succession of giant floating eyes with your ball, challenges, and even a concept art gallery. We do think there’s room for a few more features, though. For instance, it would be neat to snag powerups for drawing longer clouds, or multiple lines at once. It would also be cool to be able to compensate for poor bounces by tilting your phone, ala PapiJump.
But we like Skybound just fine as it is, too. It looks and plays like a game made with care, and $1.99 is a palatable price.