Game Reviews

Bomb Buds

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| Bomb Buds
Bomb Buds
| Bomb Buds

When did plants get so militant?

First the zombie-slaying line defence action of Plants vs Zombies had us fearfully eyeing our potted plants, and now Bomb Buds parachutes in under cover of darkness with its turn-based arena warfare.

We'd say it was like Worms with green fingers, but of course worms don't have fingers. Nonetheless, Team17's long-running action-strategy series is the prevailing influence here.

Amusing/puerile story: when spawning, it sounds like the announcer says "Clench your butts" rather than "Plant your buds"

You place your compact team of cute warriors in a range of deformable 2D levels, then take it in turns with an AI or human opponent to bombard one another with explosive weaponry.

You can take chunks out of your opponent's health with direct hits or splash damage, or by causing them to fall great heights, or dropping them into the water that surrounds each stage, or bringing in one of the hazardous environmental features that litter the levels.

So far so Worms, and that's true of the movement and combat system too. You can shuffle your little warriors left and right, while shooting is a matter of pulling away from and around your creature to set the direction and power of your shot.

There are a number of bud teams to unlock, with the Solar Buds being the top

The weapons are a familiar mix given a verdant theme. So there are rockets and grenades as standard, but they take the form of thistles and nuts respectively.

More exotic weapons include homing mushrooms, aerial seed strikes, and petal copters that allow you to take flight.

One other tool you can select in the field is a Plants vs Zombies-like sun flower, which grants you extra seeds.

Seeds act as the fuel for your weapons, and while you're granted a few at the start of each round, you can collect more in the field by walking into them or shooting them. It's a nice addition to a well-worn formula

This fog of war requires you to zoom in to see through, which sounds clever, but is actually really annoying

Bomb Buds's biggest issues - even more so than its over-familiarity - are technical. It crashed frequently throughout my time with the game, both on my iPhone 5S and my faithful old iPad 3.

On the latter, the general performance was bizarrely sluggish. It frequently stuttered and and slowed down, even on the title screen.

This isn't helped by frequent loading messages. They crop up for virtually every new phase of play and screen transition. Coupled with those performance issues, it takes a certain amount of patience to play through Bomb Buds.

There is an entertaining Worms-a-like to be had here. But Bomb Buds is simply too unstable for its own good, its various components barely holding together. Given its relative lack of ambition and scope, that's slightly damning.

Bomb Buds

A decent Worms-inspired action-strategy game hampered by sizeable technical issues
Jon Mundy
Jon Mundy
Jon is a consummate expert in adventure, action, and sports games. Which is just as well, as in real life he's timid, lazy, and unfit. It's amazing how these things even themselves out.