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PSP  header logo

Bloons (Minis)

For: PSP

Poppin'

Product: Bloons (PSP) | Developer: Bloober Team | Publisher: Hands-On Entertainment | Format: PSP | Genre: Arcade | Players: 1 | Version: Europe
 
Bloons (PSP) PSP, thumbnail 1
It's said the man with a hammer only sees nail-shaped problems.

But where does that leave a monkey holding a dart?

The star of the phenomenally successful Bloons web game, which has since made its mark on iPhone, the unnamed simian is now throwing pointy things around on the PSP, thanks to this release via the Minis programme.

The set-up is exactly as you'd expect. The monkey sits in a pre-set position in each level and, by rotating his arm around, you fire a fixed number of darts with the purpose of popping a certain number of balloons in order to unlock the next level.

The levels have been redesigned to fit the PSP's widescreen aspect ratio of course. They're not direct copies, though – more inspired by the web and iPhone levels, although there are some similarities.

For example, Holy Moley on PSP is pretty much the same as the iPhone's Limpet, while Chain Reaction is much like Bouncy Tunnel. If anything, though, there's more variation in the early levels here. And they seem a bit easier, too.

In this respect, control is an obvious issue. Personally I love the fluidity of the iPhone version and it isn't matched by the PSP's various button-based options. There are four to choose between, and they use different combinations of the D-pad and the L and R trigger buttons.

The default option maps to the D-pad, with up and down controlling the power of your throw, and left and right the direct of flight. It's playable but not always very coherent.

In the end, I switched to using the shoulder buttons for power - extending and compressing the directional arrow - and the left and right D-pads for rotation. Using the PSP's nub option is virtually unplayable.

What's always important with Bloons, however, is the sheer joy of solving the various problems placed in front of you. Some of these just require you to fling your set number of darts in vaguely the right direction, but as you get further into the game, the puzzles become much more precise.

This honing is increased as various special balloons are introduced. They range from ice balloons that when hit freeze all those around them, making them unpoppable. More fun are the pin balloons that fire out a wave of pins, or bombs which explode. There are also tethered helium balloons, and balloons that provided you with a triple shot. Layer on environmental objects such as indestructible blocks, rubber blocks, and metal sheets you can use to reflect darts, and the puzzles become increasing fiendish.

Still, such is their construction that it's usually fairly simple to work out how to solve them using your allotted arsenal, even if actually doing this takes multiple attempts. The PSP's controls do add slightly to this complexity and it's annoying the iPhone's ghosting mechanic of showing the power and direction of your last shot isn't included.

But generally, this is a satisfying version of Bloons, and also comes complete with a level editor, so you can tweak those stages you've unlocked. And you can play any open levels using the unlimited darts option, should you so desire.

As with most Minis, though, pricing isn't ideal: this is free on the web and 59p on iPhone, but £3.49 on PSP. You're not getting extra content. That's just the way things are in the PlayStation Store at the moment.

Still, as a portable version of Bloons, this will keep you happily popping for hours.
 
Bloons (Minis)
Reviewer photo
Jon Jordan | 2 October 2009
The button-based control system isn't ideal but other than this, Bloons Minis is an enjoyable version of the popular web puzzler
 
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Anonymous | 17:26 - 2 October 2009
It is a simple game and fun - i dont expect them to reinvent it or add on useless stuff just to make it more different - i like the minis experience of bloons and dont want more stuff in the game. its bloons - puzzle popping fun - but i wasnt expecting biobloonshock2
Joined:
Oct 2006
Post count:
447
splat | 14:29 - 2 October 2009
Yeap - totally agree with that.
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