The three-man team at Beau James Games recently released DiveBomb Chomp for the OUYA, which is a bit of an avoid-em-up, inspired by games like Pac-Man and Kirby. DiveBomb Chomp launches your customized character out of a plane and tasks you with avoiding larger creatures, all while consuming smaller ones in order to grow in size. It’s a fun game to play in small 20 minute bursts, but the limited screen space and repetitive gameplay worked against it for a majority of my play time.
As explained above, the concept of DiveBomb Chomp is pretty simple: Fall at ever increasing speeds, avoid larger creatures, and consume smaller ones to grow bigger. Your monster character in DiveBomb is customizable, offering a variety of colors and accessories to choose from, like a hockey mask, a rubber chicken, or rainbow colored clown hair. The world is your oyster, so feel free to make yours as weird as you like, as it’s all purely aesthetic.
Additional customization options can be unlocked during regular play, but for those of you who prefer instant gratification, you can unlock all the extras for $2.99 through an in-game menu. The same menu also offers to unlock all levels for $0.99 cents, so you could technically open everything the game has to offer for around $4.00. While we’re on the subject of pricing, DiveBomb Chomp will only run you $4.99. It’s a decent price for a quick arcade game, and, as always, there’s a free version to check out on the OUYA store.
Back on the gameplay front, DiveBomb Chomp features a variety of levels to unlock, like a volcano, jungles, and a night sky. Your character starts off with three hearts, a la Zelda, allowing you to take a few hits before throwing in the towel. You can also pick up power-ups on your way down, like an umbrella to slow your fall, or a magnet to attract delicious bugs to eat, but its twitchy gameplay is only made more difficult by the extremely limited playing space on your TV. For whatever reason, the game’s screen is split vertically in to thirds, with only the middle screen being used to actually play on. The left and right sides of your screen just show static images, severely limiting the overall view of the game as a whole.
It’s hard enough collecting tiny bugs while free falling, and I do enjoy a challenge, but squinting while I play video games isn’t anywhere close to my idea of fun. I play on a 65″ HDTV and still had a hard time navigating my way through each level due to the questionable screen display chosen by the developers. While this may be one of very few complaints I have with DiveBomb Chomp, it severely hindered my enjoyment of the game so much that I have a hard time recommending it at all, especially if you’re playing on a smaller TV than mine.
Questionable display choice aside, DiveBomb‘s controls are pretty responsive, and I never noticed a dip in frame-rate, even when things seemed to move along faster than I could keep up with. Given that the last few games I’ve played on my OUYA suffered from inconsistent frame rate issues, I’d say that’s a pretty big win for Beau James Games. It also features a vivid and colorful art style, helping the variety of hazards and monsters pop out a bit more in front of the backdrops.
Overall, DiveBomb Chomp has charm, and will definitely find an audience outside of this review. For me, however, I found it nearly impossible to overlook the sore thumb that was its screen display. I know it’s a lot to ask, but if they just went back in and delivered DiveBomb Chomp in a traditional screen format, I know I’d love it a lot more than I did.
I still think it’s a decent buy for its price, but that’s more me thinking of what could have been had I not been forced to squint for hours while I played. Those looking for something to play with, or against friends, can take part in the game’s VS and Co-Op modes to get a little more out of DiveBomb Chomp, but if you’re purely after its solo content, you may end up a bit disappointed, especially if you’re playing on a smaller television.
*This review is based on the OUYA version of DiveBomb Chomp. Beau James Games does intend to release the game on Android and iOS devices, with the possibility of Steam and other formats in the future. Unless we find significant differences between each version, consider this our definitive review.
Bradley Keene is the Executive Editor here at What’s Your Tag?, generally handling reviews, public relations, and our social media communications. He’s an aspiring video game journalist, Baltimore native, and on again/off again WoW player that favors roguelikes, horror games, and point-and-click adventures. His favorite console is the Dreamcast, favorite game is the original Metroid, and he could watch The Goonies for the rest of his life. Contact him by e-mail at the address above, or follow his insanity on Twitter.