Overall Score 80%
Now here's a novel idea. Fly your combat ship through an alley with deadly walls of flames. As swarms of enemies fly towards you, instead of shooting them, you bash them sideways towards a firey death! Watch out for giant fireballs, and don't let your enemies reach the bottom of the screen, or they'll mutate into speedy (but dumb) blue hellions intent on your untimely demise.
Bumpex is a little originality in a sea of conformity. Simple to play, it breathes new life into an idea that was done to death a decade ago. You fly your ship into enemies to shunt them into the walls of fire either side of you. Be careful not to hit it yourself! Watch your shield, because you cannot bash into your enemies indefinitely, though some enemies release the usual range of pickups which include shield-ups, guns, points or my favourite, the super-cool ring of fire
Controls are very simple. You fly with the arrow keys, though there is some inertia and you won't stop immediately unless you hit something. If you pick up a gun you have limited firepower (represented by the bar on the right) and can fire at enemies with the spacebar. Different guns have different effects. The only use you'll have for the mouse is on the menu screen.
For once let's start with the sound. Bumpex is accompanied by a range of background music with a heavy beat. It's perfect for setting you in the mood - I mean, smashing into your enemies and large amounts of fire don't really gel with light pop music. Maybe Tina Turner with "Disco Inferno" would be appropriate... then again, maybe not! But I digress.
Graphically the game is a highly polished affair with well drawn graphics and smooth motion on all sides. However, a million shoot-em-ups from aeons past had the same basic style, which detracts a little from the efforts taken. One aspect of the graphics I did like, though, is the way the screen 'rotates in' when I start a game.
This is an immensely playable game, bordering on the addictive, which is both good and bad for me as it means delays - I have to play it just once more... for research purposes... Highly simply controls and a gradual spread of new enemies mean that every time you play you should get that little bit further... The ability to save your game between levels is great, too.
Downsides... The first major downside was obvious to me every time I started the game up. It takes a long time to load. Quite what the computer was doing at this stage I have no idea, but it is rather irritating. Once the game has loaded, of course, you can play as many times as you like. Another drawback is with the save game feature. One way to fill up the high score table is to replay from the same game with the same score! I feel that starting from a saved game should mean starting with score 0 again. I'm sure many would agree.
I like Bumpex. I defy anyone to play it and not like it, and doubt anyone can only play it once. Just watch out for those gigantic fireballs!
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