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Bag It! HD Review
Review Score:

Bag It! HD, a fun and cartoony puzzle game from Hidden Variable Studios, is now available from the app store. Featuring a half-dozen game modes, a generous dose of humor, and a familiar core gameplay mechanic, Bag It! HD packs an addictive punch.

Bag It! HD Pros:

  • Great cartoon style, fun animations, and engaging gameplay through use of humor
  • Cheery, catchy soundtrack reminiscent of CTR
  • Half-dozen game modes and clever medal model keep gameplay fresh
  • Simple and intuitive control scheme

Bag It! HD Cons:

  • Rotating mechanic is overly sensitive
  • No social gaming network integration, no leaderboards or achievements

Though we’ve seen plenty of app store puzzlers that require you to fit a jumble of shapes into a fixed space, none have incorporated Bag It’s squishable items and matching bonuses in such an enjoyable way. The first of six game modes, Spilt Milk, tasks you with placing a finite number of items into a bag without destroying any of the groceries as you aim to score high enough to earn 3 stars and a couple of cryptic medals, whose requirements are seldom known in advance. Grocery items include milk cartons, juice cartons, eggs, French bread, watermelons, and bags of chips, each personified with names and human attributes described by cheesy puns. As in real life, delicate items like eggs and chips will be crushed by heavier melons and liquids, so placement of the objects takes into account weight in addition to size and shape. Items enter the screen on a conveyor belt at the screen top, giving you the option to choose which of the items to place in your desired order. Once in the bag, they can also be rotated and moved around, though they seem to be restricted somewhat, in similar fashion to those sliding block puzzles. As you progress, you’ll encounter timers, protected foods, and other restrictions that alter gameplay in challenging ways.

Other game modes include Udder Mayhem, Fresh Squeeze, Ultimate Bagger, Endless Rampage, and Power Surge. Udder Mayhem flips the script and tasks you with destroying all of the items in you bag by dropping the heavier items atop the lighter ones. Fresh Squeeze presents you with partially-filled bags and asks you to complete them, though your effort will end if you break anything, so careful bagging is the order of the day. Ultimate Bagger is like Fresh Squeeze with an endless twist, allowing you to continue filling bags until something breaks. Endless Rampage is an endless version of Udder Mayhem that offers even more destructive opportunities. Power Surge brings additional endless fun. Each subsequent mode is locked until you earn enough stars. The addition of timers, strikes for breaking objects, and protected objects offer great puzzling challenges.

Graphically, the visuals pop with bright colors and fun animations when items are smashed, an act that is precluded by a short timer that gives you the opportunity to rearrange and avoid disaster. Your current time and active star count appear at the screen top. The soundtrack is a cheerful plinky-plunky track that reminds us of Cut The Rope. Controls use drag motions to take items from the belt and place them in the bag. Rotating requires placing one finger on the target item and swiping in a circular motion with another finger, flipping its orientation from horizontal to vertical, or vice-versa. Bagging requires a tap on a button that appears in the lower right corner. Tilting the iDevice back-and-forth allows items to shift and settle, too. We found the controls easy to use, though the rotating mechanic was a little over-sensitive.

Replay value is good, as the rewards inherent in each of the 50 levels will require some additional effort to collect them all. It’s also just a lot of fun to manipulate the various items, and the multiple game modes keep things fresh. The absence of GameCenter integration was a bit of a disappointment, as we’ve grown pretty accustomed to its inclusion in games by now. It has been promised in a future update, but we would have preferred that it was present from the get-go. A universal app for $2.99, Bag It! HD is an engaging 4.5-Dimple puzzler.

Bag It! HD Review, reviewed by Kevin on 2011-12-03T14:04:25+00:00 rating 4.5 out of 5

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