Title: Hill Bill
Platform: iOS (iPhone 4S)
Genre: Action/Mini Game
Developer/Publisher: Balloon 27
Price: 1.99$ USD
Release Date: August 10th, 2013
Hill Bill is a new iOS game by newcomer Balloon 27 (otherwise known as B27). The hook is pretty cute: Bill’s a redneck hillbilly with big dreams — to be just like Evel Knieval, his motorcycle-jumping idol. Dressed in big ol’ blue overalls and a bare chest, he straddles his trusty 3rd hand garage sale bike with pride, he’s ready to set up his very own ramps and starts riding. Bill starts out a little wobbly, but soon enough he’s mastering jumps and tricks in a course containing plenty of old junk found around his yard. A few of Bill’s friends even stop by to watch…then a few more friends come…then a few more. His sudden local fame puts big ideas in Bill’s head, and he decides to take his show on the road!
The game’s controls are simple and intuitive: push the gas button to go go go. Bill can also perform a variety of bike tricks which build on each other — for example, swipe the screen across to the left to pop a wheelie, or left and down for a hands-free wheelie. To accomplish these tricks and keep a finger on the gas, the game does require two hands. Each level is scored out of three stars, and fulfilling both the level’s requirements and pulling off some sweet tricks will increase the number of stars you receive! Ground tricks increase the speed of your bike, allowing you to jump greater distances with less of a start. Bill can also perform airborne tricks which share the same motions as ground tricks but are different actions — swiping the screen left while jumping will throw Bill into a superman pose; players can queue up a number of tricks by repeatedly swiping in various directions — just be careful that you time the end of your tricks well, or you’ll crash and burn!
Environmental conditions can also change the way courses work, such as mud decreasing a bicycle’s speed and smacking the local wildlife such as birds and lightning bugs increasing your score (and thus your stars!). Tricks can’t be performed after you land. You can also pull your bike further back from the start of the jump, but be careful: if you overshoot the landing ramp, that’s a crash landing too. With six full areas with ten levels apiece, there’s plenty of different regions to explore and perfect your Knieval jumping skills. Several missions will require a careful balance of ground and air tricks to crack open all three stars, so experimentation is a must.
The game does have some minor frustrating points: the game doesn’t have the ability to re-orient, meaning if you prefer your volume buttons on the top you’re out of luck. Once you let your finger off the gas, you can’t re-accelerate, so make sure you press down firmly. Getting three stars on all levels will be quite challenging, as it’s not just performing tricks, but performing the right combination of tricks, air time, and bird-popping to get the best score.
Overall, Hill Bill is a solid game — there’s nothing especially mind-blowing or new, but it’s all put together in a really fun package with great graphics, sound effects, and an ambiance that just makes you want to play more and hunt down all the stars for each level. Perhaps the most exciting thing I’m taking from Hill Bill is the clear talent and potential B27 has, and as they have two additional games that will be coming for iOS and Android, I’m really excited to hear more about their future projects.
You can download Hill Bill starting today on the iTunes store at https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/hill-bill/id673668830