Hill Bill ReviewAugust 13, 2013
Hill Bill is a generic, but passable motorcycle trick game that sadly is not as ambitious as its title character.
A genre that has been done time and time again on the smartphone is one that involves a stunt bike. More specifically, games in which the player either races against time to reach the end and get the best possible score as a result, or maybe even simply performing tricks. Hill Bill, the latest game from Balloon 27 (B27), is more of the latter. The title character’s role model is Evil Knievel; one day he decides to follow in his idol’s footsteps and become a stunt biker.
The game’s mechanics are fairly simple – you jump right into a level, pedal to the metal. Points are awarded according to how many ground or aerial tricks you perform before making a jump (these tricks require simple swipes across the screen), along with hitting either birds or fireflies while in the air. At the end of each level you are then awarded stars (maximum of 3) and cash according to your score. Cash can then be spent at a store where you can purchase new suits or motorcycles for Bill.
Those simple mechanics seem entertaining enough, and Hill Bill can be a fun game to play. However, the problem is that Balloon 27 never allows their game’s ideas to truly make this a memorable experience. The recycled star mechanic from other games invites incentive to make more money to purchase items for Bill, but even then those items do nothing to affect one’s speed, jump height, etc – the bike you drive always has the same specifications. As for the stars, they add some sort of replay value to the game, but a lack of leaderboards tears things down a little bit. Plus, all that Hill Bill requires you to do to advance to the next chapter is beat every level.
In a perfect world, the stars would provide a challenge for the player in that you’d need to acquire more before you could play more levels, but that’s not the case here. Even so, it’s a perfectly harmless game to play, for it has enough charm and unique tricks to make Hill Bill enjoyable. I found myself enjoying playing every single level, and despite some repetitive design the game continually gets more challenging as it goes on. It’s just upsetting that the challenge factor could have been implemented into other aspects of Hill Bill.
This game has good enough aesthetics – there were no clear frame rate issues, and the game is filled with vibrant cartoon-style animation. These visual elements make the game a charming experience to play, and I also found myself chuckling at how gleefully silly the crash sequences were. Bill’s voice is fun in a sort of stereotypical way as well, even if the audio doesn’t live up to the same standard. While the sound effects are decent enough for this sort of game, the music felt repetitive and honestly isn’t even that fun to listen to.
Ultimately, Hill Bill is a middle-of-the-road (no pun intended) motorcycle stunt game. While it is certainly enjoyable, it is otherwise let down by low replay value, a lack of a challenge and then some other weak elements. Even then, Hill Bill is a completely harmless game you can spend a couple of hours on, especially since it only costs $1.99 on the App Store. Just keep in mind that this game isn’t as ambitious as its title character.