The element of surprise can be a powerful thing, as the original Portal proved, and Bruce uses that advantage in a less creative but certainly effective way. In fact it’s hard to be negative about the title; it’s charming, amusing, fun and easy to play. Watching a turtle fall through the air has never been so much fun.
Bruce is a turtle with a huge appetite for cabbage, an appetite so strong that he hurls himself off cliffs in order to eat as many as possible. It’s your job to guide falling Bruce and collect as many cabbages and power-ups you can within a time limit. It’s a simple premise with equally simple mechanics that makes for an addictive pick-up-and-play title.
Green and red cabbages increase you points – with red granting more than green – whilst clocks increase the time limit, boosts cause you to fall quicker and in differing directions, and cheese slows you down considerably. As you dodge the cheese and aim for the rest, floating platforms obstruct your way but, depending on your approach, can be manipulated to aid you in getting those pesky cabbages that seemed out of reach. Curved platformes adjust Bruce’s trajectory to allow you to temporarily defy gravity to scoop up those extra few cabbages in the air or manoeuvre your way through a small maze of platforms. Additionally if you’re falling fast enough you can plough straight through some platforms to gather the treats directly below.
You final score is dependent on points collected and distance fallen, and it doesn’t get any more complicated than that. Control is either by onscreen direction buttons or through tilt and Game Center support provides leaderboards and achievements. You can also unlock a selection of hats to customise Bruce and further add to the aesthetic charm of the full 3D cartoon-esque visuals. However, loading times can begin to grate and trying to play with tilt controls on the original iPhone will cause it to crash.
The idea of a turtle hurling himself off a cliff to collect cabbages as a concept was a pleasant surprise resulting in instant endearment. The simplicity of gameplay paired with a strong leaderboard infrastructure ensures high replayability and competition. It’s all too easy to succumb to “one more try”. Like an inverted Mega Jump, Bruce is an addictive and enjoyable experience that you must try.
MLG Rating: 8/10
Platform: iOS Release Date: 18/05/2011
Disclosure: Midlife Gamer were provided a digital copy of Bruce for review purposes by the promoter. The title was reviewed over the course of one week on an iPhone. For more information on what our scores mean, plus details of our reviews policy, click here.