So apparently, before videogames came along, kids used to play with stuff like this. It’s eerie if you think about it: the one-function buttons, the possibility of tilt controls — they were like $0.99 iOS games for a bygone era, so it’s little wonder why Aussie developer Social Agogo felt inspired to translate water jet games to the digital age with Bubble Jets (Out Now, $0.99 Sale).
The gist here is, the player gets two water jet virtual buttons and tilt-controlled fluid physics to push objects around the screen until they’re all corralled into little buckets. Advanced levels introduce bucket lids and obstacle wheels that get the player strategically thinking about how to squeeze objects through a few at a time.
Bubble Jets’ fluid physics are tight, but the game could benefit from allowing the player to adjust tilt sensitivity. The player has to turn the iDevice severely to change the paths of objects that are in a falling state; curiously, the influence of tilt is much more powerful on objects as they rise. It would also be great to have an option to hold on the buttons for continuous jetstreams rather than having to tap continuously — that’s a bit of a nuisance when you’re tilting at the same time.
Weighing in at sixteen levels that are exhausted very quickly, Bubble Jets is unabashedly meant as a light curiosity you can whip out for a few minutes every now and then. Think of it as a compact set of those old hand-held water jet toys, but with OpenFeint leaderboards based on completion time, and your expectations will be met.
Bubble Jets has a very crisp hand-drawn presentation and does a great job of mixing things up visually, introducing different objects and environments every four levels. Sadly, it goes musically unaccompanied aside from a short theme jingle.
iFanzine Verdict: A bare-bones but solidly designed physics puzzler meant strictly for the most casual of iOS gamers — or those who want to relive memories of childhood water jet toys.