VitaBounce! Review—A Flash of 2000
There’s a thin line between genius and insanity, but VitaBounce! proves that the gap is actually wider than it is believed. VitaBounce! would have been a hit if it had been released on Newgrounds back in 2000 when the trend was Flash games made to weird out players. I prayed that this game was just an unpolished mess, but I fear that the developers, Havishamone Games, created this one in a conscious effort.
I myself like extremely random, off-the-rails, surrealistic humor. Animated shows like Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Sealab 2021, Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law, to a lesser extent, Invader Zim, and to a much lesser extent, Adventure Time are full of those characteristics, and all of them I love a great deal. VitaBounce!’s developers are most likely channeling these shows, but they called the wrong gods, or did the wrong drugs.
At its core, VitaBounce! is a Breakout clone. And a bad Breakout clone at that. Funny thing about video games, you can get away with bad stories, stupid dialogue, nonsensical premises, but you just can’t skimp in the gameplay department. Before this review turns into a lecture, here is my problem with this game: it is far from playable.
The graphics are composed of MS Paint drawings of the moon, donkeys, witches, and other creatures. You can choose between touch controls and physical button controls. You can move the paddle with the left and right D-pad buttons and also the left analog nub. You can rotate the paddle with the up and down D-pad buttons and also the right analog nub. For touch, you swipe left and right to move the paddle and touch with your two fingers to rotate the paddle. You can apply voodoo to the ball by touching it or using the face buttons.
The objective of the game is to hit as many “creatures” as possible, as much as possible, especially the cracked egg (or an egg with lightning, I am not sure). The controls are, in all honesty, good. However, the fast-moving, randomly generated targets and the unpredictable nature of the game will stop you from enjoying the game. There are two modes, the unnamed game mode normally known as “campaign” and the challenge mode. The challenge mode is like a puzzle mode, where levels are prearranged for you to complete. Both modes are totally unenjoyable, not because of the flat graphics but rather the clunky level design.
This game has merits, still. I love its soundtrack, made up of fully voiced tracks. The lyrics are funny, and the melodies are extremely catchy. If the game came with the soundtrack, sure, maybe the game would just be an extension of the music, but it doesn’t. The game comes first before the music in this case, so I’ll give it a review that is apt for the situation. Well, there is a place for these kinds of games, there is an audience, just not my Vita, though.