Preview: Bullistic Unleashed

April 12, 2012

Destruction is the name of the game in Bullistic Unleashed, an upcoming iPhone game from Melbourne-based Millipede Creative Development. It’s an app that combines the hardcore gamer’s lust for breaking things with mobile gamer’s affinity for bite-sized levels that involve flinging things about. The original game is available as a free download from the App Store, but this sequel expands the concept much further, and I’ve been able to take an early sneak peek to see just how unleashed these bulls are.

It’s true that the first comparison anyone will make upon seeing Bullistic Unleashed is to Angry Birds, a game which may be the biggest selling thing in the history of things that have been sold. Your basic interaction with the game comes down to you flinging bulls around the screen using a sling-shot like apparatus, to incur damage to collections of objects using physics to your advantage. However, beyond this admittedly very clear similarity, there are some interesting key differences that Bullistic Unleashed brings to the table.

Bullistic Unleashed takes place in a shopping mall, although it’s not just china shops that these bulls are targeting. The level select screen takes the form of a map of the mall, and you move from shop to shop to progress. The main aim in the game is simply to cause as much destruction possible in a level. There are product displays, signs and valuable gifts all ripe for the smashing, as well as more traditional game items like crates and explosive crates (a regular feature in any mall, naturally). Shoppers are present too, and colliding with them at any speed will produce gory splats of blood that come soaring at the iPhone’s screen, along with assorted skulls and bones. It’s not quite Mortal Kombat, but it’s definitely a bit nastier than you’d normally see in casual games like this. To pass a level, you have to cause a certain percentage of damage in your current location, and you’re given a set number of bulls to do this with.

Stages in Bullistic Unleashed often have multiple levels, which can make navigating your bulls around tricky, seeing as you can only fling them in a certain direction and hope for the best. This is where the game starts to take on something of a puzzle element. There are elevators, which your bull can be thrown into to enter a higher level, as well as pinball-like bumpers that can send them flinging in all directions. There are also Donkey Kong Country-like barrels that can hold bulls and eject them in other directions. This all gives the player a number of means to get around each map, if you plan each bull-toss just right. You can gain coins which are used to unlock various other bulls as well, which can be called upon at any time with the in-game ‘bulls’ menu. At the moment, the game doesn’t automatically load up the next bull at the end of each turn, meaning you have to manually push a button to move on. It’s a really small thing, but something that Angry Birds does that I think could benefit this title as well.

The game’s graphics are cartoony and pleasant, which just makes the destruction caused all the more hilarious. I do hope there’s an iPad version in development, as zooming the camera out to get a view of the level would definitely benefit from the larger resolution and display size.

Bullistic Unleashed has still yet to be released, but if you’re looking for a locally-developed casual game which brings a whole lot of destruction and violence to your portable device, then you should definitely keep an eye on the App Store for when this sick puppy goes live.