Clumsy Bob offers a high score drive for the elephant lover in all of us

We’ve seen a lot of distance-running games on the iPhone. They’re simple yet solid timewasters that are appropriate to their price on the App Store. I’ve been hooked on Rat on a Scooter for a while now, and still fire it up every now and again. Clumsy Bob doesn’t try to re-invent the wheel, but is a fun diversion if you’re into high-scoring challenges.

Clumsy Bob, the titular character, is a bouncing elephant who loves to bounce on clouds and collect coins that float on clouds or are carried by birds. Just watch out for the ravenous, elephant-eating mice who live in the clouds.

Okay, so the story won’t win any awards here, but the premise is whimsical and silly, without the need for an overwrought narrative. Clumsy Bob is all about how far you can get, and how high a score you can achieve. Every five in-game kilometers you get a little cheer and the level of challenge increases.

Clumsy Bob

To make things more interesting, Clumsy Bob adds items and obstacles that alter the gameplay. For example, bouncing on a red-springed cloud catapults you so high that the game puts an arrow at the top of the screen as you fly forward (just watch out for the landing). Other items, like rockets that boost and umbrellas that help Bob float change things up too.

The graphics in Clumsy Bob are adorable. Bob himself has a goofy grin, ears flapping in the breeze and looking like he should be turned into a plush doll. The environments are colorful, cartoony and just fun to bounce around. Though it’s kind of cruel to laugh about, if Bob falls off the level his shriek is very funny yet pitiable. He’s not in pain, I’m sure he landed just fine. It’s just funny.

There is a single music track that’s equally silly and energetic, but does get old after a while. Again, someone needs to tell every App developer to let you use your iPod’s music in their game – particularly if you’re only going to provide a single track that won’t be to everyone’s taste.

Clumsy Bob

What Clumsy Bob gets very right is the control. Usually dealing with an accelerometer-controlled game results in cursing that you can’t really tell if you’ve tilted too far or too little. Somehow Clumsy Bob has this control scheme nailed tight, with absolutely effortless control. If Bob falls or bounces into the waiting jaws of a mouse, it wasn’t due to the controls.

It’s too bad, then, that Clumsy Bob is another case of “not enough to keep things going long-term.” There’s only one mode, and though the levels are randomly generated, whether there’s enough variety to keep players coming back is a little rocky. Some extra modes and maybe a few more items would make Clumsy Bob something more substantial.

Clumsy Bob could be the start of something great. The character is charming and cute, and the control is right. If more is added to the package, Clumsy Bob would be one to watch. Right now, it’s just a snack-sized experience. Maybe one day it’ll be elephant-sized.