Game Over Online ~ Rebound

GameOver Game Reviews - Rebound (c) IdeaWorks 3D, Reviewed by - Fwiffo

Game & Publisher Rebound (c) IdeaWorks 3D
System Requirements Pocket PC
Overall Rating 81%
Date Published Tuesday, February 19th, 2002 at 07:24 AM

Divider Left By: Fwiffo Divider Right

This is an interesting spin on the tried and true pinball genre. Rebound is not so much a pinball game where you play pinball but you are, in fact, the actual agent in the pinball. Reprising the role of Geeza, in a next millennium (read circa 3000) athletic Olympiad event called Rebound, you embark on a quest to go through a gauntlet of machinations designed to throw you into a perilous doom. This provides the impetus for a few interesting tie-ins, including actual pinball itself. Rebound has you traversing to achieve two primary objectives: circumventing mazes and completing races. The two are actually not that dissimilar. Mazes offer bountiful amounts of obstacles and, of course, bad guys who get in the way. They are intricate, filled with the occasional jumping puzzle and included more for the exploratory mode. Races, on the other hand, are streamlined mazes in a smaller enclosure. The object here is not to explore or reach every nook and cranny of the overall map but to get to the finish line in a timely fashion.

Graphically, Rebound is fairly impressive. At any one point in the game, there is a myriad of animation going on to emulate the moving parts in pinball. The slightly skewed top down perspective is good and close enough to show off the details that the developers have invested into the actual art. The motif used is not dissimilar to what Hollywood portrays next-generation athletic events as; a futuristic Tron-like look. This isn't too far of a stretch, considering one of the principle developers of this title is the same one behind Speedball 2 on the PC. Although the art is visually exciting in its own right, Rebound fails to capitalize on one of the most unique aspects of pinball; the outlandish themes themselves. It would have been nice to see some variation in color amongst the different levels or new sets of graphics. Or, it would have been even better if there were downloadable skins and customizations. The futuristic look is reinforced by the aural effects but they are far and few between. Curiously missing is a persistent soundtrack, which I have been adamant about recently. Even techno-style soundtracks would be suitable, if nowhere else, for this futurist theme.

Perhaps the most controversial (in the sense that it is most talked about) aspect of the game is the control schema. You have control of Geeza through a radial style directional pad, except this pad exists virtually on the screen. This allows for a variety of 360-degree movement even on handicapped PDAs. On the other hand, you use the buttons on your PDA to control jumping and Geeza's attacks. It works admirably but there is quite a learning curve involved, especially in the maze levels where the landscape is dotted with tiny black abysses you can fall into. Some of the icons you encounter in the course of the game are also not well explained. Consistent dialog boxes to inform the player when they first touch a new object would have been better than intermittent referrals to the accompanying HTML manual. And in the end, I wish there was an option to switch between using a physical directional pad or even move the virtual pad to another place on the screen. The developers have also made this title ambidextrous so those used to wielding the stylus with the left hand, may do so as well since the title is played sideways.

Some of the most interesting features come from the actual design itself. For example, Geeza is able to pitch a ball that has an autonomous life of its own, not unlike a real pinball. But at one touch of the attack button, the ball can be retracted like a boomerang, provided it hasn't traveled too far on its own. Moreover, there are actual mini-games within the course of the title itself where you have to play pinball. Finally, the developers have given a real incentive to achieve certain objectives on the actual pinball boards. Doing so during the pinball rounds affects the levels Geeza is on when he leaves the game; a highly interesting and innovative feature to tie the two worlds together and make mini-games more than merely time-wasters or diversions.

In spite of this, I thought more variety in level design would have resulted in a more entertaining product. The visual appeal is refreshingly creative at first but I thought it became a little sterile, as often is the case with futurism, as the game went on. More content would have been much appreciated. Moreover, Rebound's interface is an interesting solution but not as intuitive as one might have hoped. I, for one, had trouble performing some of the near-athletic feats you have to perform in the more difficult areas of the title. Luckily, the varied types of objectives you encounter make the game easier in that sense. Ultimately, if you are not looking for more than an action game, Rebound is an excellent product, provided you have no qualms with the interface. Those looking for something slightly deeper will be disappointed that pinball and the Olympiad have not progressed much in the year 3004.

[08/10] Addictiveness
[18/20] Gameplay
[13/15] Graphics
[08/10] Interface/controls
[08/10] Program Size
[04/05] Sound
[03/05] Discreetness
[11/15] Learning Curve
[ N/A ] Multiplayer


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