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Boom Boat 2 Review

Boom Boat 2, the follow-up to Razoric’s underwater physics puzzler, is now available from the app store. Featuring a new control method and a more polished look, Boom Boat 2 not only offers a bunch of new puzzles, but an even better way to enjoy them.

Boom Boat 2 Pros:

  • Engaging puzzle-solving gameplay with multiple objectives to complete
  • Polished visuals and quirky sense of humour
  • Soundtrack features upbeat menu tune and ambient sounds during gameplay
  • Touch-based control scheme and hold-to-aim mechanic increase accuracy
  • GameCenter integration for leaderboards and achievements to earn

Boom Boat 2 Cons:

  • Item buttons could be a bit more responsive
  • Not a lot of replay value once all stars have been earned

Garden gnomes are once again your inexplicable enemies, plotting to take over and destroy the world from below sea level. Your bomb-dropping boat is all that can stave off certain defeat. There are 50 levels to play, each with 3 objectives that must be met to earn all three stars on each. Not all three can be obtained in one try, so you’ll need multiple efforts to exhaust all gaming possibilities. The method by which you’ll need to defeat the gnomes varies frequently. You’ll start by needing to explore the little buggers by any means necessary, including direct hits from bombs and dropping concrete blocks on plungers to detonate nearby TNT and mines. After a short while, you’ll need to protect encapsulated humans by building wooden structures to take the brunt of the explosive force from a Gnome-powered sub. A countdown timer forces you to act quickly to get your structure set before the sub appears. Sharks with frickin’ circular saws protruding from their frickin’ heads will similarly try to eviscerate the human capsules. Using blowfish to manipulate the position of a bloody steak dropped from the gnome’s submarine, you’ll need to lead the sharks away from the people you are protecting. Magnets can provide a way to pull the human capsules out of harm’s way, too. It seems there is always some new way to solve a puzzle, which keeps the gameplay fresh throughout the 50 levels.

Graphically, the visuals are more polished than the original, offering a more vibrant and pleasing oceanic scene than the flat blue of the original. All of the different elements are colourful and kid-friendly, though the exploded gnomes will turn into bloody messes with exposed skeletal systems, so perhaps it’s not best for very young gamers to try. Smooth animations allow for precise alignment of bombs, which is helpful given that the spaces available to drop bombs and blocks rarely leave much wiggle room. The soundtrack provides a cheerful tune on menus, reinforcing the light-hearted and whimsical nature of the game. In-game audio utilizes ambient sounds and a few sound effects. The use of humourr is evident throughout, but most notably shown through underwater signs. The controls have been changed to replace the original’s tilt-only method with a touch-based mechanic using a ship’s wheel in the lower left corner to direct your boat to the left or right. Your usable items appear in buttons in the lower right portion of the screen. They are activated by tapping the corresponding button, though holding the button will cause them to protrude from the ship’s underside for a more accurate way to line up your shot. This is also a helpful addition that was not present in the original. An indicator on each button shows how many of each is remaining. The responsiveness of the buttons could have been a little better, as we often had to tap a second time when our first tap didn’t register. This uncertainty also led to the occasional premature release of an object. It’s something you get used to, but it seems it could be improved a bit in an update.

Replay value is decent, as most levels do require at least a second attempt (if not more) to snag all three stars. Overall, the game’s difficulty isn’t too challenging, so it shouldn’t take long to finish it with all 150 stars. It’s definitely fun while it lasts, though. GameCenter integration provides a couple of leaderboards and more than a dozen achievements to earn. A universal app for $0.99, Boom Boat 2 is an entertaining 4-Dimple game.

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