It’s not every day that you get to play a game that combines turtles, cabbage, top hats and skydiving. “Bruce” for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch bravely blends these items together to create a unique vertical platform game. Bruce is a turtle who has a taste for cabbage. In fact, Bruce craves cabbage so much that he’s willing to leap off a cliff to get it. Okay, leap may not be the right word, but he’s definitely willing to slowly walk off the cliff.
The game begins with a brief intro story explaining Bruce’s love of cabbage and how he carelessly allowed one to roll off the cliff where he was eating. This tale is presented in storybook style with the words displayed below a series of images. After this introduction players are taken to the main menu where they can begin the game, set options, and change Bruce’s appearance. I’ve often thought to myself “Turtles just look weird with those bald green little heads. It would be just swell if someone made fashionable turtle headwear.” And while I’ve never honestly had that thought enter my mind, Fervent Interactive apparently did. Players can choose from a small selection of headwear to “Spruce up Bruce”. The visuals in the game are cute, bright, and colorful. They are also very repetitive. Each level consists of two sides of a mountain (one on the left, one on the right) with Bruce diving down the center collecting cabbage and other items whilst avoiding obstacles. At first this is fine, but the visuals quickly become so repetitive that the game quickly loses its visual appeal. On the plus side, there are absolutely no violent images in the game making it safe for the little ones. Fortunately for us Bruce is never shown reaching the bottom of the cavern. You see, poor Bruce is wearing a very stylish hat but he’s not wearing a parachute. Turtle soup with a side of coleslaw anyone?
The audio in “Bruce” leaves a lot to be desired. The sound effects are very generic and don’t really make the game stand out in any way. There’s a single musical track which is good, but as there’s no variety in the music it too becomes repetitive after a short time. The music can be muted from the main menu which I found necessary after playing several times.
I have mixed feelings about the replay value of “Bruce”. Fervent Interactive has done something that I’ve not seen before in a game. Each day the level randomizes to give you a fresh game experience. The problem is that even when the level is randomized it uses the same sets of objects and it doesn’t really feel all that different from the last one. Players can also unlock additional hats with which to adorn Bruce’s head. More hats are promised in future updates. Players can also unlock certain achievements during gameplay. You’ll only need to shell out a dollar for Bruce in the app store, so this game is pretty reasonably priced (did you catch that bad turtle pun?).
The gameplay of Bruce is just about as simple as you can get. As Bruce falls down the gap between the mountains you guide him left and right as he dives to collect cabbages before the timer runs out. This can be done using on-screen arrow controls or by simply tilting the iPad left or right. I found the tilt controls to be far more intuitive and effective than the arrows. As you guide Bruce to the cabbages you must also avoid obstacles. These typically come in the form of chunks of earth which form a variety of shapes. Some of these obstacles direct Bruce a certain way, others can be simply smashed through, and others frustratingly bring Bruce to a complete standstill draining the excitement out of the gameplay. There are a handful of clocks strewn about the levels which will add seconds to the clock if you’re able to snag them as you fall. There are also stinky chunks of cheese to avoid which slow Bruce down as he falls costing you valuable seconds. This game is simple for anyone to pick up and play and does not require any real skill. If you’re a casual gamer you may enjoy this game but diehard gamers will likely get bored quickly.
“Bruce” is a family
friendly game that features no offensive or violent content. Young and
old players alike can easily learn to play Bruce. While the game leaves
a lot to be desired, it also offers a simple casual gaming experience to
be enjoyed by the whole family. If you’ve been waiting for a skydiving
turtle in a hat to make his way onto the gaming scene, Bruce has got you
Family Friendly Factor: 81%
System: iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch
Publisher: Fervent Interactive
ESRB Rating: '4+' for 4+
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