Games for the Weekend is a weekly feature aimed at helping you avoid doing something constructive with your downtime. Each Friday we’ll be recommending a game for Mac, iPhone or iPad that we think is awesome enough to keep you busy until Monday, at least.
Bloons 2 ($0.99 Universal) is the latest in a series of highly addictive games by Digital Goldfish featuring a dart-throwing monkey with a thing about popping balloons. Originally implemented as a free browser-based Adobe Flash game by Ninja Kiwi, this iOS port is a much anticipated sequel of the original Bloons.
Gameplay for Bloons 2 is like a physics-based catapult game where you determine the direction and velocity to throw a dart toward groupings of ready-to-burst balloons. The objective is to pop a required number of balloons on each level before advancing to the next level. Where things start getting difficult is when obstacles are introduced. Then you realize that there are balloons within balloons that need to be struck multiple times in order to clear the level. And to make things almost impossible at times, the number of darts you have to throw on each level is limited, sometimes to just one dart.
An increasing numbers of balloons to pop, obstacles taking over the landscape and fewer darts, what is a monkey to do? Not to worry, there are other instruments of destruction available to throw. Boomerangs, multi-throw darts, anti-gravity, remote control bees, fighter planes and laser vision, yes laser vision. And if you find that you are not the throwing ace you thought you were, there is a hint system that will point you in the right direction, as well as a skip-level feature that can get you past the most frustrating of levels. Continuously taking advantage of the hints and skips will cost you extra via in-app purchases.
The graphics are fresh and sharp across eight different worlds where the monkey in you will be challenged by 96 levels. Busting through the early levels is rewarded by persistence and a straight power throwing strategy. But as you progress further in the game, learning how to lob a dart, planning out a sequence of throws, and even getting the timing just right, become skills you will need to master.