Cowabunga for the iPhone

Today I’d like to review a game for the iPhone/iPod Touch that my wife Lindsay originally introduced to me. It’s called Cowabunga, and although I’ve only played the “free” version so far, the game has proven to be one of the more amazing apps I have seen for the iPhone. Thus I have decided to write a short review here to extend my whole-hearted recommendation.

Cowabunga screenshot

The game’s premise is surprisingly simple: you must aid a herd of helpless cows across a deep, water-filled ravine by bouncing them off of an inflated raft. The task seems simple, but once you are presented with multiple bouncing cows and a raft that is not nearly large enough, the game becomes a true challenge. The simple premise backed by complex gameplay hearkens back to gaming classics such as Pong and Pac-Man. I am sure that Cowabunga will soon join the ranks as the new generation of ground-breaking recreational pursuits.

The game offers two modes: “original” and “newer”. The “newer” version is obviously more graphically advanced, but the “original” has a simple elegance that I find extremely compelling. There are also a variety of customizations available on the options screen, including the choice to use the accelerometer to control the raft, which showcases this app’s ability to take full advantage of the amazingly-advanced technology provided by the iPhone.

The addition of power-ups that you can grab with your finger when you have a spare moment adds a genuine element of strategy to this game. Do you grab the “extended raft” power-up to gain a greater chance of saving more cows and risk missing the poor bovine who is about to fall, or do you make the save first and continue with the regular raft? It is choices like these that lead to a truly interactive gaming adventure.

Finally, I would like to turn to a less obvious commendation. All its technical merits aside, the game offers a true religious experience. Watching as the cows bounce gracefully from one side of the screen to the other yields a true sense of serenity and peace. There comes a point in the gaming experience where one’s own psyche merges with that of your gaming persona, and the characters that you interact with become true emotional beings. The connection is priceless, and such opportunities are indeed rare. Cowabunga is one of such opportunities, and I urge you to take advantage of it as soon as possible.

EDIT: And just in case this April Fools’ joke is too subtle…


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