iPhone App Video Review: Ragdoll Blaster 3

by Andrew Koziara

The Ragdoll Blaster series from Backflip Studios has always had simple and fun physics puzzle gameplay. It can also be used as a fairly accurate barometer to measure Backflip's progress as a studio. Each proceeding sequel is leaps and bounds better than what came before, with more diverse mechanics, better production values, and stronger design. Ragdoll Blaster 3 is easily the best looking entry yet, with the best design, and everyone should check it out.

The early titles reflect the studio that made Ninjump and Paper Toss while this latest title reflects the studio that made Boss Battles and DragonVale, and you can really see their growth. Ragdoll Blaster 3 is easily the best looking entry yet, with the best design, and everyone should check it out.

The original came out in mid 2009 and had a simple colored pen on graph paper aesthetic. There wasn't much to it, but it was still great fun. The sequel came out in early 2010, and adopted a kind of steam-punk/factory aesthetic. It also added achievements, and had you shoot little sack people straight out of Little Big Planet or the movie 9. Now, almost two full years later, we have another sequel. This entry keeps the sack dolls, but completely changes the art style to a more friendly and colorful 3D, with five very unique and different looking worlds. Each of these worlds have 20 levels apiece, totaling up to 100. Each world also introduces all new types of sack people to shoot around, such as the extremely slippery ice dolls in the ice world, or the heavy and destructive fat ones in the pastry/candy world.

The base concept remains the same as ever. Your goal is to hit the target in each level by any means necessary. You simply tap anywhere to shoot in that direction, with the force of your shot dependant on how close your finger is to the cannon itself. Many of the old puzzle mechanics make return appearances, but there are also plenty of brand new ones, and all mechanics are utilized in smarter ways. There are now buttons that litter each level which act as a kind of in-game currency. Your rating on each level depends only on how many ragdolls you need to fire to hit the target, and not on the buttons. You can take these buttons into a store to purchase new costumes for each type of ragdoll, but these are cosmetic only. You can buy more buttons in-app if you want, but there are no necessary purchases; they're all for the fun of it.

The new art style is great, and I really like the design of the new sack people. The music and sound design are also well done, giving the game its whimsical overtones. There's even something of a story now, but the chipmunk-voiced sack people in the basic cut-scenes are insanely irritating to me. Game Center leaderboards and achievements also make an appearance, and this game can be yours for just one dollar. Physics puzzlers of this nature are abundant in the appstore nowadays, but the strong level design keeps the game feeling fun. Definitely recommended, especially for fans of the genre.

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