Donkey Kong Country was the video game that got me hooked on the medium. Between the Donkey Kong Country’s exciting level design, great (at the time) visuals, and the cast of kooky characters, it’s easy to see how a six-year-old could really fall for the game.
And now I find myself playing Bullet Boy, a game which has just one mechanic, and it’s one borrowed directly from good old Donkey Kong Country: barrel shooting.
In Pomelo Games’s Bullet Boy, players must shoot the titular hero through each level, launching the boy from barrel to barrel while avoiding every obstacle along the way. Beyond whirling blades, smashing machines, tornadoes, and the occasional bird, players will find that the next biggest obstacle in Bullet Boy is their own mettle.
Bullet Boy is a fast game that demands perfect timing and precision aiming. This isn’t Angry Birds where you take a shot and hope it all works out. No, in Bullet Boy you have to make it work, and to make it work you have to be flawless. Or you die.
Don’t let the challenge intimidate you though. Bullet Boy is a fairly forgiving game. Initially you get to use some of the game’s currency to resume levels from your point of failure. This took a lot of the stress out of learning how the various barrels worked as well as what I need to do to avoid the game’s traps.
Even after you’ve used up the free currency you can always buy more, and you are also given the option to watch an advertisement for a free continue. The levels themselves are short enough to where even if you fail after your free-try (yeah, I know, I’m rolling my eyes at that one too), the penalty of having to start the level from the beginning again isn’t a very severe one. Just be aware that with every retry, the level layout changes around a bit, so don’t try to memorize the exact layout because it won’t help.
With that said, if you tire of the short levels, there is an endless mode that allows players to see how far they can get before failing. You just have to reach a certain level in the story mode before you can unlock it.
Visually, Bullet Boy is fantastic. It’s a cute mobile game that absolutely nails slow motion effects and plays with some fun 3D camera angles. At times you’ll launch Bullet Boy not just from left to right, but from the foreground to the background and vice-versa. There are also times where you’ll rocket through buildings and other objects and the game smoothly zooms in and slows down the action so you can see the destruction up close. Both effects really spice up the game, giving players a bit of a treat each time they play through a level.
I enjoyed my time with Bullet Boy and I really found nothing to dislike about the game. The game isn’t offering up much variety in terms of mechanics though, so if you think you’ll be bored of shooting a child from numerous cannon barrels, then you won’t get much mileage out of Bullet Boy.
But if you’re like me and enjoyed shooting monkeys and apes from barrels in the 90s? Bullet Boy is the best way to revisit the experience in 2015.