Condoms. Seriously, that’s what the Boingz look like: jelly-filled condoms.
I’m not sure that’s what Ninja Bee had in mind when they came up with the 2D puzzle platformer for WiiWare. I can tell that the game has more in common with Lemmings or LocoRoco than it does with the contraceptive aisle in a pharmacy. But I can’t help but think as I grasp the
reservoir tip antenna of the little green, blue, red, and yellow guys that there might be a penis in there that’s about to get snapped when I let go.
But enough about condoms. Let’s talk about why you want this game. And you do, because if the Wii has any answer to LittleBigPlanet, Boingz is it.
You play a single Boing at a time, waddling your way through a world to wake your buddies up and get them into color-coded exit games. The Boingz lack arms to grab things and can only jump short distances – so you get by mostly by snapping or flicking them across the level. To do this, you aim the Wiimote at a Boing’s head, press and hold A to grab and pull as you drag the Wiimote in different directions to find the right release angle. Once you’ve lined up your red trajectory arrow, you let go of A and your Boing goes flying – bouncing off of surfaces or sliding over hard angles like a
jelly-filled condom rubber band. The goal is to get every Boing into a gate, but if you want to be a little more hardcore, you can try a timed mode where you race against the clock to solve the puzzle.
I started out with one blue guy that I had to flick across a body of water. I aimed him straight across, so he bounced off a sleeping yellow guy on the other side. Now that he was awake, I switched to control the yellow guy by pointing at him and pressing A. I tried to rocket the yellow guy up to a ledge above him where his exit gate was waiting, but the ledge was too high and I fell in the water. Boingz float, so I had no trouble jumping out of the water and getting back to where I left the blue guy below the ledge. Switching back to the blu guy, I grabbed him by his head and stretched his body across the water, pinning his antenna to the ground by pressing B. I then swapped back to the yellow guy and had him stand on the blue guy that now made a bouncy bridge across the water. From this angle, I was able to make the flick up onto the platform where the exit gate waited.
But wait! There was still another Boing in the level – a sleeping green guy way up on the top-most ledge. I targeted the exit gate where I’d sent my yellow guy and pressed A to call him back out. Through a series of flicks, I got him up to an even higher platform, where he woke up a green guy. I used the green guy to knock down a rock from a ledge and then stapled the yellow guy’s head to it before plunging off the side of a cliff to fall back down to where the blue guy was still hanging out. We rolled off of him and I switched controls so I could unpin the blue guy’s head, opening up the way to the water. Switching back to yellow, I used the weight of the rock stuck to his head to go deep underwater and collect a series of power-ups, which gave my Boingz the ability to jump higher. Now, without the need for blue to act as a bridge, I was able to get the yellow guy back up to his gate, get the blue guy across another body of water to his gate and then switch back up to green and send him over the cliff to where the green gate was.
That probably doesn’t sound as awesome as it is. But hey, I thought Braid sounded pretty dumb when someone tried to describe it.
The bottom line is Boingz is a physics based game that feels really good to play; the exact kind of game we want on the Wii. There’s a sense of accomplishment as you work your way through the increasingly difficult puzzles; and the bright, friendly colours plus cute sound effects are only the icing on the cake.
Look for it on WiiWare hopefully by the end of this month (maybe early next month – it’s in certification, and that can drag on for a while).