Bring Me Down is a competent physics puzzler, but fails to really stand out

What do you get when you combine a hostage in a cage, unsteady towers of blocks, and fresh fruit? When you come from San Francisco — like me — it sounds like someone is asking a question that could lead to a very interesting evening. In the case of Bring Me Down, this is the setup that you’re thrust into, and the end result is a game that’s much like just such the aforementioned evening: challenging, but probably not for everyone.

The game takes place in some sort of hellish world where a cute red… thing (we’ll call him “Bob” from now on) is being held captive in a cage that sits atop piles of blocks. The blocks themselves are placed on a rotating platform that seems to float in the air without any aid. If Bob falls to the floor of the room, it’s game over; presumably he’ll be devoured by the owners of all the sinister pairs of eyes that are watching from the background. Exactly what are these creatures? Why did someone put Bob in a cage? Just how stupid is Bob that he’s able to keep getting caught and stuck atop elaborate block towers? Don’t hold your breath, because none of these questions (nor anything else pertaining to a plot) are addressed during the entire fifty level campaign.

The touch interface is utilized in two different ways: tapping the blocks on the screen will cause them to pop out of existence, while swiping your finger across the screen will rotate the camera in any direction. Both of these work incredibly well, but moving the camera is more irritating than it should be, since the rotating platform is constantly changing the perspective on the screen. Honestly, the developers should have just ditched the platform’s movement, since it doesn’t add anything to the gameplay experience.

Bob isn’t the only thing you’ll want to keep safe from the dangers that lurk in the shadows on the unseen floor of the chamber. In each level there are two bananas that reward you with bonus points if they don’t fall off the platform. Presumably the bananas are there for Bob to snack on, but — again — this is something else in the game that’s never explained. Maybe Bob just needs some potassium in between captures.

Saving Bob and his precious fruit pieces is a lot easier said than done. The block placement makes things incredibly challenging. For the most part, it’s a lot of fun trying to figure out what blocks to get rid of in which order. Usually, there’s a strategic option that will let you solve the puzzle, but sometimes the physics are so touchy that you’ll just have to cross your fingers and hope that luck will get you through the level.

Bring Me Down

Bring Me Down

The game’s visuals definitely try to make the most of the Unreal Engine. It certainly looks fine, but the graphics engine feels a little under-utilized, since all you ever see is the same caged creature atop the same teetering blocks in the same sinister dungeon. The music, too, is fine, but it’s nothing to write home about.

As puzzle games go, Bring Me Down rests pretty firmly in the middle of the pack. The gameplay is challenging, but nothing here is actually good enough to make it stand out. There’s no plot, the mechanics doesn’t really feel all that original, and the graphics never change the setting. If you’re a hardcore puzzle game fan (or just happen to be a massive Jenga addict), odds are that you’ll love this title for as long as it lasts. Otherwise, this is a game you can safely skip without missing anything special.