Someone set us up the Ac!dbomb

Hey all, Shinji here. As you may remember, there was a preview of Ac!dbomb by Vertigo Games on that other site about a month ago. Well… they finished it. As soon as I noticed this, one download and six hours later, I started writing this review. So….

Ac!dbomb is an odd mix of the gameplay of Minesweeper and the Metal Gear Ac!d style (MGA being a card game hybrid of the famous Metal Gear Solid series for the PSP). Basically you’re a bomb technician who uses a software program to defuse bombs in real time. Using SDUs (or beams of light) you need to pick out and mark pistons from the remaining dummy tiles. In Minesweeper terms, fine the bad spaces before time runs out.

Now this is a very nifty concept, but like anything it could get old quickly. Unlike the demo, there are a variety of bombs, each with their own rules, such a temperatures to watch out for (hard), or ones that are unstable that can only be marked on the pistons (extremely hard), then ones that scramble themselves after a set period of time (stab someone in the eye frustrating).

Gameplay is fantastic, along with levels that unlock with more and more that are completed, and gradually introducing new bomb types, and the occasional boss (yes, bosses in a puzzle game). Also, the piston positions are randomized, so you can play levels over and over again and never have the same bomb twice, putting the replay value through the roof. Top that off with an editor (which you unlock after a bit) for custom levels, and challenge levels afterwards (with unlock rewards).

Controls work quite well. You use the number pad to move your SDUs around (not the arrows, make a point of using the number pad for when you have 3 SDUs) and the mouse to mark. One possible feature that could help moving the SDUs is to have them wrap around the edges (moving down at the bottom and having it bring to the top). Also, the ability to define if left or right mouse does the marking would be great, plus a marked piston can be tricky to undo, especially if under the gun.

The graphics and sound are perfect and spot on with two minor exceptions. The visuals are great, looking just like a computer program without ripping off Tron for once. Phasing backgrounds, tiles lighting up in sliding patterns, it’s all very nice. And the style is consistant throughout. The only gripe I have is with the sound. There are a myriad of music clips, all of which work great, from general gameplay to a special set for when time is running out to really put on pressure. However, when one sample ends and another picks up, the game will hiccup a minor amount. Also, the piston marking noise in the demo was far superior. That might sound trivial… but you hear that sound a lot.

Two final mentions are that there is a minigame of sorts that you can unlock with is quite good. But also, be sure to read the manual. It’s quite a gem, with some great writing – it looks and reads just like a goverment safety manual.