ParaNorman: 2-BIT BUB by Laika icon

ParaNorman: 2-BIT BUB (Free) by Laika is the official tie-in game to the upcoming film, ParaNorman, which will be hitting theaters on August 17.

If there are any movies left to look forward to this summer, I think ParaNorman is on that list for many (myself included). I love animated movies, especially if they remind me of Tim Burton’s unique style. While I don’t normally care for games based off of upcoming releases, since most are just cash cows, I have to make an exception to ParaNorman: 2-BIT BUB.

First off, the game is free and without any in-app purchases, so that was nice to see. And secondly, while most movie games are action-like games, this one isn’t. In fact, it’s a puzzle game, which you don’t see very often for these types of titles.

ParaNorman: 2-BIT BUB by Laika screenshot

You will help Bub, a bisected ghost dog, retrieve the zombie bones that he obtained from a graveyard before the zombies come after them. The game utilizes beautiful looking visuals that come straight from the movie, and the original music by Jon Brion adds an eerie layer that is quite fitting. I was quite impressed, and even more so when you consider the fact that the game is completely free.

There are three unique locations for Bub to gather bones in, with 10 levels in each. You will tilt your iPhone or iPad to make Bub move left or right, and you make him jump by dragging your finger across the screen in the direction you want him to go in (think Angry Birds). Make him latch on to the phantasmal orbs in order to get the goal.

Green globes are the regular ones, so they will always be there. There are special ones that get introduced as you advance through levels, such as the blue one that disappears once you use it, or the orange one that is on a timer when you are on it. To make things difficult, there will be moving globules too, so think of it more as a puzzle platform game.

While the controls are simple and intuitive, it could be improved at times. Bub doesn’t get very far unless you drag from one side of the screen to the other, which is weird considering the fact that this is a ghost dog — how can a ghost weigh anything?

There are three stars in each level that you should try and grab before getting the bone. Stars will increase your score and collecting three on a level means you unlock a “poster”, which is accessible from the level selection screen.

ParaNorman: 2-BIT BUB by Laika screenshot

I thought that these posters could be saved to your Camera Roll to use as wallpaper, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. So far I haven’t been able to do much with them besides share them on Facebook or Twitter, at which point, it just comes off as an ad.

Game Center is utilized for leaderboards and achievements. Because of this, the replay value is raised. However, as I played the game, I felt that it was a bit too easy at times. It would be great for kids, though.

Currently, there are only 30 levels total in 2-BIT BUB. However, if you swipe past the three available areas, there are four additional areas that are only marked with “Coming Soon.” I would think that these levels would be released before the movie is out, but who knows?

If you are looking forward to the movie as much as I am, then give this action puzzler a try. It should be enough to hold you off for a few more weeks, and it’s pretty great considering that it’s free to play and without any in-app purchases. Even if you don’t care for the movie, this is still a fun, family-friendly puzzle game.