Whether they are little fur balls with eyes or animals with big heads, everybody likes things that are cute. Tell me to rescue a batch of baby bunnies from someone's sinister clutches, and I'll go through hail and high wind to make sure it gets done. Bumps, the latest physics puzzler from Utopian Games, has cute coming out of its ears. It's a charming combination of games like Eets and Loco Roco-esque Tau-ri Bedrock or Rolando.
You see, the Bumps are a peaceful race of creatures who like nothing more than to roll around, bumping into each other. But, one day, a fleet of alien space craft came and captured many of the bumps, looking them away in energy bubbles until they could figure out what to do with them next. The remaining Bumps realized that if they could find all of the keys to unlock the energy bubbles, they could set their friends free. And thus your quest is set.
Like most physics puzzlers, you don't have direct control over any of the characters on screen. You instead are allowed to place small Bumps (the number varies per level) at strategic points around the screen. Press the Start button, and let gravity, velocity, and Newton's laws take over. The goal is to collect all of the keys to free the imprisoned bumps.
It's not all happy-cute rolling around and key collecting, of course. Power-ups come along that can make the bumps grow, shrink, dash and more, adding another layer of strategy to the game. Sometimes you'll have to start a bump on its journey far away from the destination so it can grab a power-up or two to collect keys along the way.
Analysis: Fact: it's nigh impossible to resist the cute exterior presented by the Bumps. Seriously, I challenge you to look at those screenshots and not say "DAWWWWW!!!". Bubbly eyes aside, the gameplay is simple and sweet with a good mix of experimentation and strategy.
Challenge-wise, Bumps hits about the middle of the road, offering some levels that are a real puzzler, with others that you can breeze through without a second thought. Most of the difficulty comes from finding just the right places to drop your bumps so they get the job done. It's trial-and-error most of the way, which provides a great casual gaming experience.
Bumps is something a little different, which is always welcome in my book. A little bit of strategy, a little bit of experimentation, and a lot of bubbly-eyed cuteness. Bumps is a great diversion for any afternoon!