Ragdoll Blaster 3 is so much fun that it’ll have you doing backflips

When it comes to the simple pleasures in life, I’m not sure it can get much simpler (or much enjoyable) than being the dude who lights the fuse on a human cannon. Ragdoll Blaster 3 captures this experience pretty perfectly, minus all the crippling injuries and horrible fatalities that would occur if I were doing this for real. In short, the game is… “a blast.”

The story begins with a bunch of ragdolls (who bear more than a passing resemblance to the Sackboy characters in LittleBigPlanet) sitting around their island home, looking for something to do. One of the more inventive of the bunch comes up with plans for an airship that will let them travel to far-off lands and pursue new adventures. Beating each level adds a piece to the overall blueprint for the next vehicle needed to travel to a new continent, which is populated with ragdolls who contain unique attributes. The story, while minimal, is fairly cute and manages to move things along well enough.

As opposed to other physics puzzlers — here’s the inevitable comparison to Angry Birds, everyone — this isn’t a game that requires you to destroy all the targets (and everything else you can) with a limited number of launchable figures. Instead, you can fire as many ragdolls from your cannon as you want (though you probably won’t earn the maximum number of stars when you do this in a level). The goal is to get a ragdoll to make contact with a wood target, but this is often easier said than done. In one level, you need to fire the doll at flung targets (much the same as with skeet shooting), while the next map may require you to hit a switch or activate a device that will make the target accessible. No level ever plays quite the same as any other in the game.

The mechanics are simple: All you have to do is tap on an area of the screen and the cannon will fire a doll at the spot. The further away from the cannon you tap, the more power is in the shot. Where the extra complexity comes into play is how the various objects in each level work. It’s insanely clever how, if you aim and time things right, you can set off a chain reaction of events that will make nailing the target possible within one or two shots.

Both the sound and graphics are top-notch. The cutscenes between lands are incredibly cute and cartoony, while the in-game levels feature some quality details that keep them from blending together. However, it’s the ragdoll characters themselves who really steal the show here, thanks to their goofy looks and the way they move when fired.

Ragdoll Blaster 3

Throughout the game, you can pick up gold buttons that can be used to buy new costumes for your ragdolls, though they don’t seem to offer any real play bonuses. This is how in-app purchase work, since many of the costumes are rather pricey. As a result, you’ll probably wind up shelling out a couple of dollars if you actually decide to purchase more than one or two new outfits. You can also purchase a rocket-powered ragdoll, though that option only showed up one time during a particularly troublesome level, so I’m not entirely sure what it would’ve been able to do.

Something that seemed to happen occasionally (but often enough that it bears noting) was that the physics would occasionally break. I’m not talking about a section where something didn’t move like it should; I’m talking about parts where the ragdoll would change directions in midair and become attached to a wall or ceiling. There were even a couple of times when the guy would start rolling uphill. It was bizarre to watch, especially when another shot fired immediately afterwards would work perfectly.

While Ragdoll Blaster 3 doesn’t really break the mold when it comes to the physics puzzler genre, it’s certainly cute and clever. Aside from the fact that hard physics aren’t always on speaking terms with the gameplay, this is a very fun little game.