Version tested: Retro
For a few years in the mid 1980s, Sheffield-based Gremlin Graphics seemed capable of releasing quirky original games for fun, and the bouncy bouncy Bounder was a typical example of its ability to pick a winner out of absolutely nowhere.
Released to Gold Medal-winning acclaim from Zzap 64, it was one of those instantly engaging, but thoroughly evil games which required no small amount of patience and persistence to work your way through its many challenges.
Like so many games of its era, the premise was fresh, fun, and intuitive. Guiding a relentlessly bouncing tennis ball around a vertically scrolling obstacle course until you reached a goal was the simple premise - all achieved by punching the ball using a giant boxing glove. Random.
Viewed from a top-down perspective, you could move the ball freely in four directions after each bounce, with the aim to land on safe ground and/or a question mark - behind which may lie something good, or something baaaaad....like a dart, or a massive set of chomping teeth to literally burst your bubble.
Once you got to the end, there was a throwaway bonus round where you'd try and bounce between question marks to rack up a combo bonus, and then it was onto the next one. With ever more evil tricks and traps (like being blown off course), Bounder wasn't a game for the faint-hearted.
Technically, it wasn't really up to much even at the time, with rather shoddy sprites, typically muddy backdrops and even the audio department was sparse, to say the least.
But forget how it looks, and enjoy yet another one-of-a-kind game that defies categorisation - and don't forget its souped-up 1987 sequel, Re-Bounder, which rotated the action 90 degrees, added the ability to fire (shock), and threw in some characteristically chirpy tune over the top of it...
6 / 10