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Review: Ragdoll Blaster

June 18, 2009

Ragdoll Blaster


Billed as simple to play but hard to master, Ragdoll Blaster is a game for the iPhone from BackFlip Studios. The player uses ragdolls shot through a cannon to hit a specific target. The game is a surprisingly fun and addicting experiment in ragdoll physics. Da Vinci Dreams


Single Tap Controls Ragdoll Blaster is exactly what it sounds like: you shoot stick figure ragdolls from a cannon at a target. The player controls the cannon’s pivot as well as speed with the touch interface. Dragging your finger across the screen aims the cannon and a tap fires it, with speed controlled by how close or far the tap was from the cannon. Real Physics The rag dolls move according to real physics. To truly understand how to play the game, you have to study and understand how the ragdolls move within the game. Lots of Levels As you complete each stage, the difficulty continues to ramp up, introducing new elements such as fixed walls, moveable walls, pivots, fulcrums and more. The ever changing elements and obstacles forces the player to think of new and creative ways to hit the target given the constraints of the cannon and their ragdolls. Music Choice You can choose to listen to the in game music or turn it off and choose to listen to the music from your iPod instead. img_0102


The Good

Gameplay: The gameplay is really simple: Find target. Aim. Fire. Like golf, the object of the game is to hit the target with as few ragdolls as possible. The idea and the controls behind this game are so mind boggling simple yet the game is totally engaging, always challenging to the player to come up with more creative ways to hit their target. Puzzles: The puzzles in this game really keep the player's attention. Sometimes, the puzzle seems straight forward enough until you introduce the ragdoll element. Replayability: Ragdoll Blaster has a huge replay factor. As I progressed in the game and began to understand how to solve the puzzles, I still wanted to go back to do a better job on puzzles that may have taken me a longer time to finish. Unlike other games where you want to go back to make sure you completed the game, even when I went back to revisit previous stages, it was not because I felt I had missed something. Instead, I went back to replay stages because I enjoyed them that much and wanted to do better on them.

The Bad

What? You want me to find something bad? There’s only one music track that loops. So unless you really like the song then I’d suggest turning it off and playing whatever music you enjoy on your iPod. (Or, if you’re like me, you get so engrossed in the game that you forget what song is playing.) Also, the graphics are very simple: they're stick figures on a graph paper background. Definitely not the most ground breaking graphics ever seen on the iPhone. Personally, I think it fits in perfectly with the spirit of the game but if you demand eyecandy over gameplay, this is not your game. Pine Forest


To quote the description of the game in the App Store, “Easy to play, difficult to master.” That sums this game up nicely. I somewhat sheepishly admit that I had a bit of trouble putting the game down to write this review because I was constantly telling myself, “Okay, after I figure out this puzzle, then I’ll do the write up.” (Why am I writing this now? Because I got hopelessly stuck. No, I won’t tell you where.) I’m a fan of ragdoll physics in games. I have always loved watching dead game bodies flop all over each other. Maybe it is just me but there’s something so satisfying about watching the little stick figure ragdolls shoot through the air and then flop down. If you have a bunch of them, you can even see their little stick figure limbs hanging uselessly over each other in a macabre kind of dog pile. But most of all, I love the gameplay. The controls are intuitive and easy to master. And I love that this game makes you think. So many shooting games are simply about aiming and firing straight at the target, trying to kill your target as fast as possible. Ragdoll Blaster changes all that. With this game, you rarely shoot directly at the target, if ever. Instead you have to think, not only about the angle and speed that you're shooting, but also how your obstacles and ragdolls are going to move in the environment. There is so much to consider, but when it comes down to it, you're having so much fun shooting these ragdolls all over the place that you just don't care! If you are at all a fan of puzzle games and are looking for something new, Ragdoll Blaster is definitely worth the money.

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