REVIEW: Bopscotch

For all its many bright, colorful levels, numerous ‘costume changes’, and ball-shaped characters leaping throughout, Bopscotch ($2.99) is still an endless runner. Well, I suppose if you want to get technical, it’s an endless bouncer. There’s no ‘jumping’, per se. At any rate, you’re still stuck on auto-run, testing your reflexes and overcoming the same obstacles / hazards you’ve dodged and ‘cheated death’ from thousands of times over1.

And yet, ‘bouncing’ your way through each stage brings a subtle variation to the formula that is both mildly-refreshing and annoyingly-perverse. More on that later, first the details. Bopscotch features an assortment of customizable ball avatars2, called ‘boppers’, and offers up over 90 stages of well-designed— and yes, occasionally frustration-fueled— deathtraps and spikes, sprinkling in some additional tricks as you go along, like sudden speed changes, one-way signs, and breakable floors / ceilings to open up new paths.

You’re gathering candy as you go (which equates to your score), but the goal is, as always, misleadingly-simple: reach the exit of each level unscathed, and move on to the next. Of course, that objective and its cheery visuals are a lie; this is a masochistic endless runner, and you’re going to die, my friend. A lot. Instant retries are unlimited, natch, and there is theย Willy Wonka-esque ‘golden ticket’, a single-use item that is occasionally handed out, and which permits you to skip the current stage in exchange.

Which you may need. Rather than traverse the game’s many dangers the old-fashioned way, Bopscotch‘s round-ish fellows are quite good at bouncing, forcing an entirely-different method of of movement and timing on the player. In addition to allowing more space to line up jumps, you can also tweak your speed on land and in the air, which is vital to crossing some gaps and ‘threading the needle’ between spikes. The tutorial level gives you the basics, but you’ll still need a bit of time to adjust to Bopscotch‘s particular cadence, if you will.

Bopscotch - Screen

Can be more complicated than it looks.

That adjustment is mostly painless, mind you, but it does throw a wrench into the traditional machine of understanding endless runners. The levels themselves are pre-set sequences, fun to figure out but built to be completed in a certain way, one that requires nigh-perfect timing on your part. Given the genre the game belongs to, you can expect to replay some stages over and over, along with all the colorful language that results from it.

In that way, Bopscotch is no different than something like, say, The Impossible Game. Clever idea and ‘ball cosplay’ aside, it’s designed to frustrate over long periods of time. You’ll find ample challenge and more than ample content (besides the 90+ level ‘Adventure’ mode, there’s a two-player local race option), but you still have to know what you’re getting yourself into. Proceed from there.

  1. Only to die a thousand deaths more in the next level or game. Vicious circle, Life’s a Bitch, [insert hopeless fatalism here], etc. 
  2. Knights, Teachers, Mummies, and the like; change your color, or swap out hats and shirts as you please, with new items unlocked for completing a series of levels. Hardly in-depth stuff, but hey, it’s fun for the dress-up crowd. 

14 thoughts on “REVIEW: Bopscotch”

  1. Revisiting an old thread here: I’ve still not finished the game, and am beginning to seriously doubt I will ever. This game is BRUTAL if you step away for a while; all my precious double-bounce skills are gone, my speed-switching is horrible, and I feel like a neophyte player (I hate the term noob). I had to go back the Simple Levels just to reacquaint myself with the pace and controls! But it is equal parts fun and frustration. There is a HUGE amount of time-consuming content for $3. Mostly due to the player’s own ineptitude, I might warn.

    And I think I owe the devs a tweet with the t-shirt. I was hoping to do it on the final level … but I fear that is not going to happen. ; 0

    1. I can see that being the case. This game very much had the feeling that its beginning stages were merely a test for the hardships to come. The skills you acquired there were meant to transition, but walking away from any game— and then trying to get back into it later— is going to be tough. Particularly an endless runner / skill-based game.

      And I think you do owe them a tweet. I’d like to see this fancy shirt for myself, to see what kind of perks I’m missing out on due to my whole, ‘being objective and shit, and not accepting any favors / gifts from developers’ bit ๐Ÿ˜€

    2. I’ll definitely get the photo/tweet out … it just won’t be a victorious pose, merely one of concession to the Endless Runner gods and their piques of cruelty and ice blocks.

    3. And those gods will accept your admission of total defeat, as they have from so many other poor, vanquished heroes (including myself)…. ๐Ÿ˜›

  2. Man, this game is tough. Particularly frustrating in that you must time your jumps and bounces really, really well to negotiate some platforms and spikes. But you know what? I really like this game (partially because I can kick my kids’ posterior in the race mode!); it reminds me of the Trials games (which I guess are a form of endless runner {with reverse in them, so I still stick with my new-to-endless-runners position}) in terms of frustration but also satisfaction when you get past a level. The speed-up/slow-down mechanic gives it a lot of tactical flexibility, and the levels are just short enough to not seem like impossible drags. Of course, I haven’t finished all the levels, so perhaps that yet may come. The personalization is pretty cute for a bouncing ball (I’m partial to pink with squinty eyes, underwear, and boxing gloves), and the music is hummably catchy. It’s among the more pleasant surprises that I’ve played. I went in expecting little, and it vastly exceeded those expectations. Now if only Destiny had done the same …

    1. Yeah, I / We may stretch the definition of ‘endless runner’, but it’s the same principle, agreed. It does require some expert timing, though again, I agree, the stage lengths are (mostly) tolerable. There were a few that got repetitive and frustrating on the way to beating them, but that comes with the territory, really, so no one can complain. You know exactly what you’re getting when you sign up for these games. ๐Ÿ™‚

      And hey, hey, hey, back off my Destiny, son…. Nah, I’m just kidding. Go ahead and let the game have it for its lack of a campaign, convincing story (having to read up on the internet doesn’t count), and planets to explore (even Mass Effect had more ‘optional’ planets than Destiny has actual planets). That said, it’s really a whole other beast once you hit level 20. The end game stuff is far superior to all the build up to it. Then again, I’m a person who likes grinding, so I don’t mind doing tons of strike missions or holding out for exotic gear and weapons. Don’t really like the Crucible (multiplayer), either, but I can’t say I feel cheated, really. Well, mostly. And I’m the idiot that bought the game for both the PS4 and the One (… don’t ask), so that puts me among the more ridiculous apologists for the game.

    2. Good thing we have Chivalry: Medieval Warfare and Helldivers coming sooner than later. Those are the real gems of the fall catalog. Along with Far Cry 4. And Evil Within. And Wulverblade (“If it’s not Scottish โ€ฆ it’s crap!”). And Hellraid. Oh, never mind. There’s too many good games coming out. It is your destiny to play them.

    3. Ohhh, forgot about Hellraid, thanks. Looking forward to Wulverblade, as well. I’m cautious about Evil Within and Far Cry, but will doubtlessly play both at some point. Personally looking forward to Sunset Overdrive in a few weeks; I need something over-the-top like that to lead into COD and AC Unity.

  3. Why is it “yea” (yay) but not “nea”? English is a quizzical language. And yea, I’d be interested in the t-shirt, especially if it says something along the lines of “I sucked at this game and only got a t-shirt”. I still wear a Swervedriver shirt (does anyone remember them?) I won in 1993, so I’m pretty good at representin’ free stuff. I think that t-shirt is my oldest and most successful relationship, fwiw.

    1. Personally, I’d stylize it as ‘Yay!’, since if you’re saying / voting ‘yes’, you’d want to emphasize your enthusiasm for it. It’d make watching C-Span (shows US gov’t. voting on bills and such) a whole lot more fun if congress and the senators had to shout out ‘Yay!’ for every vote taken. ๐Ÿ˜€

      Man, 1993, eh? That’s dedication. I’m sure the Bopscotch crew will appreciate that as much as Swervedriver (yes, I had to look them up) still does. By that math, I guess you’ll be carrying the Bopscotch tee around until 2035-ish, roughly. ๐Ÿ˜Ž I’ll pass along your email to them, and they’ll be getting in touch with you once the shirts are available.

  4. Like endless runners and dressing up your balls1? If so, I have one copy of Bopscotch to give away, courtesy of Leda Entertainment. Also, what about a t-shirt? The guys have been nice enough to offer up an official Bopscotch t-shirt in addition to the code, provided you’d like to give your address out to total strangers. Still, you can’t beat that. Simply leave a reply to this comment, and the game (and a t-shirt!) can be yours!

    1. Get your mind out of the gutter. 
    1. It could be! … Wait. You mean… never? Like never never? For real? Not even once? Whoa, I didn’t think people like you existed, outside of fairy tales and internet legends. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Well then, you’re in for a treat / surprise / angry time! Code is headed your way shortly. Also, if you’re interested in the t-shirt from the developer, just drop a ‘yea’ or ‘nay’ in reply, and I will put you in touch with the Dev.

The Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s