Take on the world as a bubble-blowing sunflower
If I were a mad scientist specialising in genetic mutation, the last place I’d look to with a view to taking over the world would be plant-life. Yet Big Bad Flower concerns a twisted genius who’s unleashed a sentient bubble-blowing sunflower on mankind. Yes, really. Unfortunately, the game isn’t half as interesting as the premise.
The aforementioned raging Helianthus annuus sits grumpily (but undeniably cutely) at the centre of the screen. Around its head sit various overhanging structures, from tree branches to cranes (our flowery chum grows in between stages) from which its enemies launch their attacks.
Starting with members of the animal kingdom and working up through soldiers and aliens, these enemies lob projectiles at you, knocking your petals away to signify your dwindling life force. While you can stop these objects in their tracks by tapping them, the true aim is to pre-empt such attacks by putting enemies into bubbles and then blowing them away. The former technique involves drawing a circle around your targets. The bigger the bubble, the less stable it will be, but larger bubbles enable you to trap more than one enemy within them.
Once your opponents are trapped, a swipe on the face of your mutant sunflower makes it spin its petals around, blowing any floating enemies away (and presumably into oblivion). Leave this latter process too long and the bubbles will pop, allowing your enemies to resume their bombardment.
If things get too much, you can initiate a limited-use lightning attack, which traps every enemy on screen at the same time. It’s a smart-bomb, in other words.
It has to be said that all of this is rendered with considerable cartoony charm – indeed, the whole game resembles a kid’s pop-up book. No pop-up book I’d want a child of mine to see, with its apocalyptic tale of plants versus the world, but the point stands that Big Bad Flower is an attractive game.
While on paper this all sounds like quite a fresh concept, in practice Big Bad Flower is little more than a glorified game of Whac-A-Mole. As this would suggest, the main trouble here is that the gameplay gets incredibly repetitive extremely quickly. There’s virtually no variation in play – just circling or tapping objects and enemies, then swiping to blow them away.
The only change comes with the nature of the enemies, with some rolling in along the ground and others dropping in from the sky. Nevertheless, the way in which you deal with them is always the same, and the only meaningful way in which they differ is the level of damage their attacks cause.
Success in each of the three stages unlocks bonus modes, but these are simple diversions that offer even less scope than the main game. They don’t extend the game’s lifespan to any recognisable degree.
Big Bad Flower is a bright, colourful casual game with a lively concept. However, its execution falls rather flat thanks to a lack of variation and a core gameplay mechanic that’s inherently limited.