2-Bit Bub

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2-Bit Bub

DoraThey say you can't keep a good dog down, and the spectral polter-pooch Bub seems to be proof positive of that. Too bad he's been keeping himself entertained playing with bones from the local graveyard... bones the zombies will rise at sundown to claim if he doesn't bring them back! 2-Bit Bub is a free action puzzle platformer (of sorts) for your iOS made by Laika to promote their upcoming feature film ParaNorman. As Bub, you'll have to hop, chomp, swing and sling your way through levels trying to snatch the supernatural zombie bones by flinging yourself through the air on ghostly floating rings. Which is pretty impressive when you think about it. I mean, I'm not a dog person, but even I have to admit I don't think either of my cats could be mustered to care about stopping a zombie apocalypse, even if they were the ones who caused it.

2-Bit BubTilt your device left or right to make Bub trot around the screen, and drag your finger down from the top of the screen to make him launch himself in that direction. If a ring is in his path, he'll bite down on it and hang there until you launch him again. Of course, not all rings are alike, and some will behave in different ways. Each level has three optional stars for you to collect to improve your score, but what you really want is that zombie bone floating somewhere onscreen. If you make a mistake and can't proceed, tap the pause button to reveal the reset button so you can start the stage over. Currently, there are only thirty stages available, but you can look forward to more available when ParaNorman hits theaters on August 17th.

2-Bit Bub is, by and large, a very simple little game, but it's the sort that gives you hope for advergames as a whole because it's so darned gorgeous and fun. It looks and sounds absolutely beautiful, and while the gameplay is very basic and straightforward, there's a nice degree of challenge to it that makes it well worth the price. Which is, y'know, free. It did feel a little sluggish at times on my first generation iPad, which can make some of the timing tricky, so you'll want to pay attention to patterns and plan things out. A pedigreed example of an advergame done right, 2-Bit Bub is a ghoulish good time with style to spare to make up for the fleas. Do ghost dogs have fleas? I bet they do, and they're probably impossible to get rid of.

NOTE: This game was played and reviewed on an iPad (1st gen). Game was available in the North American market at the time of publication, but may not be available in other territories. Please see individual app market pages for purchasing info.

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