AR Bomb Squad game

AR Bomb Squad – Game Review (iOS)

AR Bomb Squad or in its Chinese name on the App Store “AR拆弹部队” (you can find it by searching the English name as well), is a bomb disposal augmented reality game for iOS.  I really liked the idea of defusing bombs in augmented reality so I’ve decided to play it and share my opinion about this game in my review.

What is AR bomb Squad?

Blue or red wire, which one should I cut?
Which wire should I cut, red or blue? My life depends on it.

AR Bomb starts off with a story. Three bombs exploded at the same time in Duosilan and Juba square, killing 76 people. It was a terrorist attack which The Tairmi Red Army, a terrorist organization claimed responsibility a few hours later.

At 3:15 p.m., a local police found explosives in urban areas and a bomb squad received a mission to arrive at the Central Hospital of Ravalen to find and remove explosives there made by the terrorists.

AR Bomb Squad is a puzzle game. You have 10 different bombs to defuse and you are given small hints to help you find ways to defuse those bombs. You start with a simple bomb and move on to more complex scenarios which are unlocked as you progress.

After the initial AR surface scan, the game will deploy the bomb on the surface where you play the game. The interactions are minimal but even the slight mistake can trigger the bomb and make it explode. Players can tap to select the part to interact with and click the button to operate.

3D Bomb on a table in augmented reality
The bomb in Level 3. Can you guess what you need to do here?

For example, in the first bomb encounter, I needed to choose between cutting the blue or red wire, one of them neutralizes the bomb, the other will cause it to explode.

The bomb squad has 5 members, which translates to lives in this game. Once you are out of squad members, you need to either wait 5 minutes to recruit a new member, watch an advertisement or use microtransaction to obtain 5 new lives.

Here, check out some gameplay (spoiler-free, only my deadly mistakes).

Is it Fun Defusing Bombs in AR?

Custom made bomb in AR
Some of the custom-made bombs look very realistic, especially that large on in Level 7 which you can see in this screenshot.

Well, in my opinion, absolutely yes. I never had a chance to play a game where you need to break your head trying to defuse bombs. In fact, It’s great that there are lives in this game because it makes you think twice before making a move.

The first bombs are quite easy, the following ones are more challenging. If you don’t pay attention to the clues, you are probably going to fail many times. The puzzles aren’t super hard, but not too easy either. One bomb even made me laugh. You’ll see what I mean once you get to that bomb.

The game definitely remits that type of tension that I expected a game like this to deliver. Most of the bombs look very realistic. They are very detailed and their component’s materials look very authentic (e.g. metal really looks like metal). this translates to a more genuine bomb defusal experience. I like the fact that each bomb looks completely different in each level, although some bombs look quite similar in terms of their mechanism, the way to dismantle them varies.  Sometimes the name of the level itself can help out. Don’t worry, I am not going to spoil anything for you, I let you break your head and try figure everything yourself.

C4 custom bomb 3D model in augmented reality
Trying out Bomb number 10, the last one!

I almost forgot to mention. Most of the bombs are on a timer, so you have limited time to try to figure out how to defuse those bombs. Don’t search for a bomb defusal manual online because those manuals are for real bombs, not for puzzle games :).

Some of the bombs were quite tricky. I had to wait several minutes for the bomb squad lives to fill up so I can play again. It’s not that I was able to easily run through all of them, oh no, I failed and quite a lot.

AR Experience

This game is perfect for AR, in the sense that it really helps delivers the thrills of bomb dismantling. The bomb is right there where you are, so you fill like it can damage you, well kind of. It feels much more realistic compared to a similar game where the bomb sits in a virtual 3D scene, it just completely changes the experience.

One note though. According to the official game’s page on the App Store, the app requires iOS 8.2 or later and compatible with iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. Furthermore, the app store says: “Works on this iPhone” with my iPhone 5S. I am reviewing the app using the iPad 2017 which is compatible with this app but my iPhone 5S does not support this app and can’t run it.

AR bomb Squad doesn't work on my iPhone 5S
The game doesn’t work on my iPhone 5S.

I tried to run AR Bomb Squad on iPhone 5S and it didn’t work. I’ve got the message: that my device doesn’t support AR mode.  Well, I think that the developer just didn’t enter the right metadata, and this should be fixed. It was a bigger issue if the game was a paid app, but it’s free (by the way, it was a paid app and turned into a free app if I am not mistaken). Anyway, I just wanted to let you know about that just in case you wonder why this game doesn’t work on your iPhone or iPad device.

Compared to non-AR Bomb-disposal Mobile Games

AR bomb Squad is the first augmented reality bomb-disposal app. There are many other similar non-AR apps out there like Bombsquad, Bombs Stop, Defuse It!, Secret Agent Robot Squad, Bomb Defuse, Defuse the bomb HD, The Impossible Test, and many others.

I actually downloaded some of them to see how good they play without AR. Games like Bombsquad Defuse the Bomb is much more complicated, has 36 levels and lots of tools for you to use which complicates things quite a lot. Bombsquad Defuse the Bomb feels more like a bomb-defusal simulator than a casual puzzle game like AR Squad Bomb. Some of the bombs are very complicated and really requires some serious introspection.

I think that AR Bomb Squad was designed well for a casual AR puzzler. Having said that, I wouldn’t mind having harder levels that require the use of various items to dismantle the bomb.Still, playing a game like this in AR was much more exciting than a similar non-AR game. Stil, both leave side by side and I also recommend trying out Bombsquad Defuse Bomb if you enjoy playing this game, it’s not an AR game, but still a great game nonetheless.

Conclusion

Level 10 completed in AR bomb Squad
Level 10 completed, I am hiding the middle deliberately so you won’t see how I’ve done it 🙂

AR Bombs Squad (AR拆弹部队) is a great little Augmented Reality (AR) puzzle game. Its realistic visuals further help promote more authentic gameplay experience. This is something the most of us won’t do in real life, but you can do it risk-free and also enjoy doing it on the way.

The game has just the right difficulty to make you feel satisfied after each level you finish. I actually liked the fact that I could take a break after killing all the members of the bomb squad because of my mistakes and come back and try defusing the bomb again. After like a few hours of playing with some stops in between, I was able to complete all the 10 levels, and I felt proud of myself doing so.

I still wish there was more to this game. It did feel a bit short and could surely benefit from more advanced game controls that exist in other bomb-defusal (non-AR) games that I’ve played. The game controls are maybe a bit too simplistic. I assume that people who enjoy playing games like this would prefer a more intricate gameplay with more precise and exciting controls.

You know what, I wish there was a built-in level editor that allows users to build their own bombs and let the community try to defuse those, this would be an amazing feature. I do hope that this app gets enough downloads and for the developer to continue adding more content to it. I really want to wake up tomorrow and defuse more bombs, knowing that this great experience isn’t over.

Overall, a great AR game, especially for those of you who like challenges and like breaking your head on small and tough little puzzles—Highly recommended!

Download the game from the App Store here.

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