There is something inherently gratifying about smashing or destroying something, even watching a building be demolished is good fun. So it should be no surprise that we see the concept come up a lot in games. Stephen over at Ninja Kiwi claims that his latest Flash game, "is based on the very simple fact that popping balloons is fun." And you know what? He's right! In Bloons you get to pop a lot of balloons!
For control, you're given a small monkey with a handful of darts. To throw a dart, just aim with the mouse and press and hold the mouse button to power it up. A red arrow displays to help you gauge how hard to throw it; then just release the button when ready.
Clear each level by popping the target number of balloons displayed at the bottom of the screen. Of course, to make things interesting, you are limited to a certain number of darts per level, sometimes even to a single dart!
With 50 unique levels to unlock, Bloons will keep you busy for a very long time, if you let it. Stephen provides much in the way of environmental hazards and power-ups to keep the game interesting. Ice balloons, exploding balloons, tack balloons and boomerangs are only just a few of the wide range of items available. My personal favorite, the Pac-Man balloon, summons the mighty Pac-Man himself and places him under your control for a brief, sweet moment!
Analysis: There is a lot to love about this game, not the least of which is the pure enjoyment you get from popping all the balloons you can. Moreover, if you fail to achieve the target for a level, you can keep trying until you get it right. There's no concept of lives lost or game over; just keep trying! The unlockable levels provide a sweet reward of something new when you finally meet the target goal, and an integrated save system remembers which levels you've unlocked across play sessions so you can pick right up where you left off.
But the game is not without a few minor flaws. The aiming control seemed a bit glitchy in the version play tested for this review, and it needs some sort of feedback displayed for the player to gauge against previous attempts. Also, it seems that the power meter is inaccurate. When throwing darts at the same power, one would travel too far and another not far enough. Perhaps just a little tweaking and refinement is all it needs.
A couple of minor blemishes to an otherwise outstanding and very addictive new game from Stephen Harris and NinjaKiwi.
For even More Bloons, be sure to check out the follow-up with 50 new (and more difficult) levels!