Ragdoll Blaster 2 Hands-On Preview

One of the recent cult classics on iPhone was a unique effort from the team at Backflip Studios, called Ragdoll Blaster. Ragdoll Blaster took an amazing physics engine and created an engaging title that threaded the line between being a shooter and a puzzler. Though Ragdoll Blaster was excellent in virtually every aspect, its most impressive accomplishment was delivering dozens upon dozens of imaginative puzzles to conquer. With Ragdoll Blaster 2, that legacy aims to be faithfully recreated and expanded upon. From what we’ve played, it seems to live up to its predecessor.

Using cannons, you aim and fire ragdoll puppets to hit a bullseye target, thus completing the level. Using a scoring system similar to golf, the goal is to finish levels by firing off the least amount of puppets as possible. While you have unlimited puppets, there’s no pride in running through a dozen or so to complete a level.

What makes things interesting is the physics that come into play. Using your cannon as a home base, tapping areas near or far from your cannon determines the flight path and power of your shot. Some bullseye targets require accuracy and brute strength, while others call for a skillful finesse shot to get the job done. As you progress through the game, the setups become increasingly elaborate, but once you figure out the approach, executing and completing the level doesn’t take long at all.

One of the biggest changes we’ve noticed in our time with Ragdoll Blaster 2 is its radical departure from the original’s simple presentation. Replacing the crinkled graph paper backgrounds and sketch drawings are gorgeously designed industrial set-pieces. The scene is still set on a 2D plane, but there’s a pseudo-3D effect that is achieved by the way the game’s assets animate.

We loved the original’s style, but the visuals are substantially improved in every way. Even the audio received a more inspired effort. Instead of leveraging some library classical music, the score sounds original while being catchy.

To bolster the online offering, Backflip Studios has implemented Ngmoco’s Plus+ system into Ragdoll Blaster 2. The achievements have a good mix of easy to difficulty milestones to acquire, and completionists will be busy for a while trying to earn all 750 points. For competitive types, there are several scoreboards to conquer.

If there’s one concern we have about Ragdoll Blaster 2, it’s the strength of its longevity. The early levels impress, but we’re dying to know if puzzles get recycled or stay fresh throughout. As we dig in over the next couple of weeks, stay tuned for our review after the final game drops on March 1.