Iambic has never been known for game software releases for the Palm. Then, for some reason, some clever heads there got together and came up with Ababall, which still keeps its honorable place on my otherwise overloaded Clie. I was quite curious to see what they would come up with for the future, and here’s my answer Bump Attack Pinball.
Pinball games were fairly frequent for the PC in the recent past (though they died out after a while I venture forth a guess that the market got so saturated that nobody cared anymore), but implementing a pinball game for Palm is quite the challenge. The hardware isn’t nearly powerful enough, and there’s not much RAM to work with, either. To my ardent surprise, Bump Attack quite skillfully pulls it off, but more than that it has something few other games do that I really appreciate: high-resolution support for Clie handhelds.
The basic premise of the game I will skip over. If you don’t know what pinball is then you really have been living under a rock for the past half a century or so. The tables in BA aren’t nearly as complex as PC pinball games’, and there are only two of them, which drastically limits the replay value, to my taste. However, they are quite good-looking, and the game works quite well, especially on my NR-series Clie in high resolution. The physics are quite good, as well, at least for a Palm pinball game: I found that the paddles have a longer reach than they look to have, meaning if it looks like the ball is about to go amiss, don’t despair and slam the paddles anyway chances are good you might still get it.
One thing I didn’t like too much about the high-res mode was that the ball and the screen in general became too small. On the one hand, that made the entire table visible, and made playing generally somewhat easier. On the other hand, it made me squint a few times, trying to follow the ball. As a matter of fact, I found it more entertaining to play the game in low-res, because it brought back memories of Pinball Illusions and how the screen followed the ball
that was fun.
The game also sports a MIDI soundtrack that makes use of the T-series built-in speaker. By my assumption, it should also make use of the NR-series speaker, but for the moment, that doesn’t seem to work. As well, the virtual graffiti area of the NR-70 screen got sort of corrupted on play too, but I don’t blame that on BAP support for the NR-70 does seem to require some work from developers. Since I didn’t have a T-series to test the 16-tone sounds on, I cannot comment on the quality of the music.
Overall, Bump Attack Pinball is a fairly entertaining game that should keep you going for some time; though, I fear, not enough time. I would gladly give it a Gamers’ Choice, had it had at least one or two more tables, since the way it is right now, the fun will run out shortly. But I recommend you try the demo anyway, you might just enjoy it as much as I did.