Ramps, a simplistic physics-based puzzler from Backabit, is now available from the app store. Despite some control quirkiness and precision requirements, Ramps manages to entertain more than it frustrates.
- Simple graphics
- Appealing old school arcade soundtrack
- Intuitive controls
- Tons of levels
- GameCenter integration for leaderboards and achievements
- Repetitive gameplay
- Some level of precision required
- Control quirkiness results in occasional misidentification of intentions
Ramps features 100 levels spread across 2 distinct worlds, with more promised in the future. Each level requires you to drop a ball from a chute and direct it into the goal bucket by the use of a limited number of ramps. The ramps can be moved about by dragging from the center to its new position. The angle of each ramp is determined by dragging up or down on the outer end of the ramp until it is positioned in the appropriate direction. Each level has a number of challenges to complete to earn a golden trophy. These challenges typically include completing the level within a time limit, completing the level on your first attempt, and collecting coins that may appear somewhere in the level. A number of obstacles appear as you progress, such as snowball-throwing penguins that can slow the momentum of your rolling ball. Latter levels really require some precise placement of ramps to avoid getting stuck against barriers. Much of the challenge comes from managing the ball’s speed to achieve your goal.
Graphically, the game has a very simple but pleasant look. There are lots of pastel colors and thick black outlines that give it a childlike feel, but it works well for this type of game. The soundtrack has a retro arcade feel to it, which works well with the graphical presentation. It doesn’t annoy nor does it really enhance the gameplay. Controls, as previously mentioned, are touch-based and utilize simple drag mechanics. While responsive and easy to use, there are often times where we try to move a ramp when the game changes the angle instead and vice versa. You almost need to hold your finger on the center or edge for a beat before attempting to move the ramp so that the game can properly determine what you want to do. This wouldn’t be a big deal, but with the gameplay being timed, it can cause frustration as you try to best a previous attempt or complete challenges.
Replay value is good, as GameCenter support brings global leaderboards for points earned and a couple dozen achievements to earn, though if you don’t login to GameCenter the first time, it doesn’t seem to register achievements properly. Earning golden trophies on all levels can also provide incentive to keep playing, too. For the sale price of $0.99, Ramps is a 4-Dimple challenge that’s worth the investment.