For an industry that loves explosions, bomb-dropping is a weirdly overlooked mechanic in videogames. Most gaming bombs are either relegated to secondary attacks, or deployed by aerial antagonists rather than being player-controlled. Thankfully, one-man developer Take Two Tablets has the perfect antidote for this, in the form of newly-released Android game Super Bomb Drop DX. As you may have guessed, it’s all about dropping bombs!
Super Bomb Drop DX is the first in the Minima series, which intends to provide “simple arcade snack gaming” for mobile and (later) PC platforms. As a statement of intent for the series, an embodiment of the Minima concept, Super Bomb Drop DX is an absolute triumph. Sticking with the tried-and-tested high-score simplicity to which mobile gamers have grown accustomed, the game presents the simple task of dropping bombs onto coloured squares streaming from left to right of the screen.
But here’s where it gets more interesting: the colour of each square denotes it’s value in points. All of the colours come with a positive value ranging from 5 – 100 points, except for the red square which activates a -50 score. So, the objective is clear – bomb the high scoring squares, avoid the reds, get the highest score possible before the time runs out.
Success in Super Bomb Drop DX relies on honing the skill of timing. When you’ve been playing for a while, you grow to learn the exact pace at which your bombs descend, and can balance this against the pace of the onrushing squares. A lot of the game relies on a near-instinctive level of on-the-fly risk assessment. For instance, the white squares are worth 100 points each, but they move at a lightning pace, which means you run a higher risk of missing your target and getting caught in a minefield of costly reds. Mere millimetres could be the difference between a 100 point boost and a 50 point loss.
I’ve often said that the simplest games can be the most difficult to review, and I stand by that. A massive game with a wealth of content has plenty for a reviewer to discuss, but the simple, addictive qualities of a mobile game are often harder to sum up in words. Super Bomb Drop DX is no different. It’s a game that could easily be summarised in one sentence, but that would fail to encompass what makes it great. In essence, it’s a game with a very striking and distinctive visual style, even down to the menu design and use of font, and an incredibly simple yet well-executed mechanic. However, Super Bomb Drop DX proves itself to be more than the sum of its parts. It can proudly stand alongside mobile gaming’s greatest in terms of compulsive playability, despite its basic nature. In many ways this is the entire point of the Minima concept, and Take Two Tablets have nailed it first time.
You can find Super Bomb Drop DX on the Google Play store here, for a mere £0.61. If you want to follow what the developer is up to, you can check out his website here, or follow him on Twitter @TakeTwoTablets.[review pros='Compulsive in its simple immediacy, favours actual skill over trial-and-error, classic high-score action' cons='Offers less content than other similarly priced Android titles' score=89]