Backyard Bounce Review

Take one backyard, one ball, and one hoop, and you have the necessary ingredients for a bit of fun and exercise. Good stuff, but we’re living in the digital age, so let’s do a little better. We’ll take one ball, one backyard (and a couple of additional settings), one hoop, some hammers, some girders, some planks– heck, let’s just dump the entirety of a construction site into an iPhone game. Add some physics-based puzzles, and voila! Now you’re playing Backyard Bounce by Clickgamer.

Backyard Bounce asks the age-old question, “How do you use a bowling ball to get a basketball through a hoop?” In fact, the game challenges you to do the swissssh thing across 70+ levels, and the solutions are far from straightforward. When you begin a level, gravity will get the ball rolling, so to speak (and sometimes, it won’t even do that). Then it’s up to you to guide Mr. Basketball to his net.

Men at work.

You’re issued several tools to get the job done. In some instances, getting the ball to the net simply requires building a crude bridge out of planks. In more complex cases, you must utilize planks, springs, tennis balls, and even dominoes. You might have to string objects together so that a tennis ball tips over two dominoes, which fall into a bowling ball, which rolls into a hammer and swings it into the basketball, which rolls over some planks and bounces off a spring to– well, if you’ve ever played Milton Bradley’s classic board game “Mouse Trap”, you know what to expect, except your crazy, zany contraption actually works in Backyard Bounce (no green plastic diver needed).

Like most physics-based puzzle games, Backyard Bounce awards stars according to your performance and score. You need a certain amount of stars to advance beyond the backyard and into other “courts.” Backyard Bounce is made of familiar stuff, but the game does have some interesting traits that help give it its own voice.

Doesn’t this count as traveling?

For one thing, there are multiple ways to solve most levels, and you’re awarded points if you have leftover tools at the end of a stage. Second, you can “buy” a certain amount of hints on each level at the cost of some points. This can affect your star total, but buying a hint will place a silhouette that will give you an idea of what tool ought to go where (and the angle at which the tool should be tilted, which is every bit as important). Very handy stuff when you’re stuck, especially since Backyard Bounce offers no option to skip levels.

Backyard Bounce adds a touch of originality to a genre that’s been worked over on iOS, but it’s still essentially a physics-based puzzle game. Granted, it’s a good one. If you still want a chance to best gravity, and if you haven’t been tired out by birds, pigs, ropes, and the rest of the gimmicks this genre has to offer, challenge Backyard Bounce to a little one-on-one.

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