Updated: Leaf Bound Review

Three big improvements mark the release of Leaf Bound version 1.1: performance fixes, a new control scheme, and splash intros for the bosses. A few of these are essential upgrades, and it’s enough for us to revise our score for the game upwards.

With the new performance fixes, the game doesn’t stutter and chug as you jump upwards through the levels. The performance isn’t 100% perfect, but it’s markedly improved, on our 3G at least.

The new tilt control scheme was a nice surprise. Now, in addition to touch controls, you can tilt the device side-to-side to land on platforms and avoid enemies. This gives Leaf Bound a more physical type of interaction, and it helps the game a lot.

And lastly, the fancy art intros for bosses are a nice touch, even if it doesn’t add much to the game. What it does do, however, is show off the game’s personality and interesting visuals.

For these great updates, we’re now giving this game a 3. Leaf Bound is still a bit short, but for 99 cents, we had a lot of fun sending Yuri up through the stages, eating hot sauce and bopping monkeys on the head. Check this game out if you enjoy platformers or quirky, creative art.

At first, we were won over by Leaf Bound’s adorable main character and multitude of creative enemies. Mecha monkeys, flying banana ships, and other assorted baddies help Leaf Bound burst with charm. Far less charming, though, is the jerky, jarring performance that slows down the controls and scrolling graphics, as dozens of slick 2d sprites crater this game with the visual equivalent of a CD skipping.

Leaf Bound is a vertical platformer that is controlled simply by moving your finger along the bottom of the screen. In theory, your main character Yuri is supposed to follow your finger as you try to land on platforms, stomp on enemies, and pick up food to restore your health. In practice, it doesn’t take much happening on screen to slow down Yuri’s reaction to your controls and interrupt the flow of the game, making the experience more irritating than it should be.

This game is bananas! B-A-N-A-N-A-S.

The graphics are a major part of Leaf Bound’s appeal, and if it ran smoother, we could recommend it for the eye candy alone. Each of the eight stages (although the last one is a simple boss fight) is uniquely themed, and each also tends to introduce new enemies and a boss. However, whether it’s a boulder-throwing ape or a laser-firing rocket ship, there is only one strategy to take down each and every boss– gain altitude, then bop it on the head.

Since Yuri jumps continuously and doesn’t have much in the way of a move set, the simplicity of the controls will likely divide its audience. On the one hand, Leaf Bound is simple enough for a non-gamer to pick up and enjoy without much of a learning curve. On the other hand, since there is no depth to the game, the only strategy for dedicated players is to pick up three hot-sauce powerups in a row, granting Yuri temporary invincibility, and blast to the end of each level without much opposition.

We loveses our powerups.

We can’t be too let down by Leaf Bound. After all, it’s cheap and simple, and the big hug that Yuri gives to her life-bar powerups is just wonderful (we don’t ever remember Mario getting that emotional about his 1up mushrooms). But we’re not so eager to embrace this game, if only because it seems to be technically in over its head. Leaf Bound has the character designs nailed down, so we’d definitely give these charming figures a second chance in a version update or sequel, but you may want to pass on Leaf Bound in its current state.

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