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Physics-based mayhem on the iPhone

By: 3 February 2011 One Comment

Bounce Bullet Pro

Remember back in high school or college when your instructors told you that physics could be fun (or “physics can be phun” according to the more annoying teachers)?

It seems some students took those words to heart and started writing apps for the iPhone. There are a slew of physics-based games floating around on the Apple App Store and some are more realistic than others.

Oddly, some of the better physics-based games on the block involve an almost alarming amount of gratuitous violence. Kittens get thrown, cute and cuddly critters get shot out of cannons and people are maimed. Wholesome entertainment? Probably not, but some of these games are downright addictive. Let’s take a look at a couple of great ones.

Bounce Bullet

Bounce Bullet, which comes across as a bit of a training simulator for thuggish mobsters with trick bullets, will keep the happy iPhone gamer busy for hours. The physics of the whole thing makes it a challenge — bullets bounce around all over the place and it can be frustrating to figure out the correct angles necessary to kill some of the hapless victims who line the screen.

While the physics of a bullet ricochet simply can’t be as straight forward in real life, the hard surfaces and odd positioning of victims will make you forget about all of that stuff as you’re trying to figure out how to blast several people in a row with one well-aimed shot. Here’s a tip — firing toward the ground at the smallest angle allowed will almost always turn out well for you. Here’s another tip — you can’t kill yourself with your own bullets, so feel free to experiment like crazy with various angles.

The free version of Bounce Bullet is here, and the “pro” version is here. The pro version costs 99 cents and adds more levels, a handy “laser guide” and a couple of other goodies. Still, the free version is a heck of a lot of fun, so try it out and upgrade if you really like it.

Fragger Desert Strike

Fragger Desert Strike

This one might offend a person or two as the player appears to be lobbing grenades at cartoonish, wacky terrorists. For those of us who aren’t bothered by such things, Fragger Desert Strike is an absolute hoot.

Remember that old Scorched Earth PC game that was popular in the early 1990s? Fragger DS is a bit like that one — and other artillery shooters — in that the player can control the angle and velocity of a grenade and is charged with trying to wipe out baddies before running out of ammo. The major difference here is that the baddies don’t shoot back and it is impossible to blow yourself up with your own grenade.

The game does support the iPhone’s high-resolution Retina display, but the graphics are pretty clean and simple regardless of which version you’re using. You’ll have hours of fun blowing up obstacles, trying to roll grenades on enemies, hitting baddies hard enough when throwing your projectile to knock them off objects, etc.  Like Bounce Bullet, every level is pretty short and makes for an entertaining way to kill a few minutes here and there. Unlike Bounce Bullet, you can cheat and see the solution for those levels that you find just too tricky to solve.

You’ll find the free version of Desert Strike DS here and there is a paid upgrade available for 99 cents. I can’t comment on the paid upgrade because the free version has been plenty entertaining so far.

About: Ethan C. Nobles:
Benton resident. Rogue journalist. Recovering attorney. Email =

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