We've come a long way since 2009, and the Ragdoll Blaster series has come farther than most. Its first release featured sketchy hand-drawn graphics and an experimental gameplay style that earned it a Pocket Gamer Gold Award.
Three years on, and Ragdoll Blaster 3 has been fired onto the App Store. The charming aesthetic might be long gone, replaced with generic cartoon graphics, but what about the experimentation that made the first game so exciting?
There are still traces of it - still moments where the spark that set the original apart shines through - but more often than not it just feels like it's going through the motions.Damn and blast
Those motions are still pretty solid. You take control of a cannon, and you use it to fire a ragdoll at a target. You touch the screen and slide your finger to angle your weapon, and the farther away from the cannon your finger is when you lift it off the screen the more powerful the shot.
A variety of moveable and more solid objects block your shot, and it's up to you to work out the best way to get one of your floppy little projectiles to crash into the red and white target. There are buttons to collect in each level, and these add to your overall score.
As you work your way through the game, you'll unlock different types of ragdoll, which are given to you should the situation dictate it. Frozen dolls slide along surfaces, fat ragdolls serve as ballast, fiery ragdolls punch through scenery, and robo-dolls interact with various mechanisms.All dolled up
You can also buy a jetpack-powered doll with real life money, and this basically acts as a free pass through any level you're stuck on. Fire it out and it'll immediately home-in on the target and move you on to the next challenge.
Sadly, the level design means you might need to call on this jet-powered helper more often than you'd like. Once you're stuck, you're stuck fast, and pelting annoying ragdolls into the scenery becomes a cathartic but useless pastime.Ragged little men
When Ragdoll Blaster 3 gets things right, it's like peeling back the years. The freedom and ingenuity the original offered are still there, somewhere, and when the puzzles click and the ragdolls bounce like they should everything feels good again.
But sometimes the physics just don't work. Blocks that you need to slot into place fall at crooked angles, and you're left to restart a level that's become impossible to finish.
It's a shame, because there are still some great ideas here, and still a lot of fun to be had too. Ragdoll Blaster 3 might not capture that heady mix of brilliant design and unique style that made the original so exciting, but it still provides a few hours of diverting nonsense, if you can get past its occasionally glaring design flaws.