“explosive barrels, suspended crates and hovercraft driving pirates”
Developer: Rock Live Inc.
Publisher: Rock Live Inc.
Release Date: Jul 14, 2012
Bolt! centre’s on one recurring level scattered with objects - some safe, some hazardous - that generate in a somewhat random order, with the level getting progressively harder the longer you survive. It has all the makings of a Mini-Clip game and in many respects that’s exactly the vibe you get from it, possessing a strong pick-up-and-play element, but not all that great of a lifespan. Funnily enough it has many similarities to that of a 100 meter sprint, in that it starts quickly and once you hit the finish line the race is run and there’s very little room for replayability.
As is the going trend with iOS game releases, the game is presented in a quirky fashion, with funky styling’s playing over an even larger than life cartoon version of Usain Bolt, who has stolen treasure off of some pirates and must now run for his life across a path strewn with conveniently placed barrels and cannonball fire, which is pelted at you in predictable patterns. Apparently the setting is Jamaica, but it could just as well be some random generic backdrop seen in almost any Gameboy game of the early 90’s.
In order to begin the game you must first log-in with a Facebook or Rocklive account, or alternatively set up a new account from scratch. It’s a little ironic that one of the options presented isn’t a Twitter account though because after each run-through you’re given the option of Tweeting your score to the world and no option of linking up with the other two.
At the start of each level you’ll see Bolt briefly don his signature pose and then set off at a steady pace, continually moving forwards until he blows up from one of the many oncoming perils, such as explosive barrels, suspended crates and hovercraft driving pirates. In order to help him survive these you either swipe your finger in an upwards fashion to leapfrog an obstacle – twice for a double jump - or swipe sideways to slide beneath them - it’s all very riveting stuff. Naturally the longer you play the more adept you become at preserving his life and thus through practice you’ll achieve your highest scores.
The only small gripe is finding the best place to settle your finger on screen as performing the swiping motion tends to impair your vision somewhat, but it will be something you become accustomed to after a game or two. Handily the pause button is in easy reach if you do find yourself distracted and once unpaused provides a three-second countdown and plenty of breathing room to prepare yourself for the next impending threat.
The game features coin collectables that can be saved and spent in the game store, from one-time use extra lives to a bazooka that can be equipped and used to fire through particularly tricky situations. Here you can also unlock extra Gatorade tokens that when passed through act as power ups that see Bolt run increasingly faster, until the power bar reaches max and he becomes invincible for a short period of time, plowing through enemies like he’s this generations Super Sonic.
You’ll see yourself saving for some of those store items, particularly the extra lives as the game can be quite tricky and is extremely unforgiving. Additionally, while there is only one level to speak of, there are eleven stages of challenges you must endure to call the game complete, and each set of three must be finished before you can progress. They are all pretty simple and most should be achieved through normal play, such as earn a certain score or collect a certain number of boxes and it’s only towards the latter stages that you will receive any test of your skill or endurance.
Once you feel you’ve pushed as far as you can and you have a score worthy for comparison it’s time to head to the Leaderboards that provide you with the best scores for that day, all-time and your friends’ all-time, including one Mr. Usain Bolt, who resides second on my list with a tidy score of 1.3 million.
Despite the simplicity of the title, its lack of any real depth and painstakingly unoriginal formula; it’s pretty hard to knock Bolt! as a free-to-play game, mainly because it’s insanely fun, accessible to everyone and is good for wasting a few hours, which in essence is the purpose of its design – shameless Gatorade promotion aside. So if you’ve ever wanted to step into the shoes of the fastest man on earth - or more fittingly in this case, a generic pixilated black man - then why not give it a quick download and then save it for your next arduous car journey or inevitable ‘rainy day’.
Craig Bryan, NoobFeed
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