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Classification: Game / Arcade
Publisher: Penguin Software / Loadstar (Softdisk, Inc)
Programmer: Tom Becklund
Year: 1984
Rating: ★★☆☆
Disk: bouncing-kamungas.d64
Documentation: The Bouncing Kamungas Game Manual

Just recently I wrote a blog post, in which I mentioned that there are very few unique games being produced for the C64 these days. Many games today are either ports, rip-offs or modern interpretations (or expansions) of existing games. That got me to thinking what are some of the unique games that I've seen for the C64 that still remain as one of a kind? Maybe because I just recently played this game this past winter, The Bouncing Kamungas! immediately popped into my head.

I also haven't done a Loadstar review for quite a while, so two birds with one stone, you know?

The Bouncing Kamungas! was written by Tom Becklund and published in the floppy disk magazine, Loadstar, issue number 35, back in 1984. It was one of the games published in Loadstar that was a little more polished than their typical game offerings, not to mention one of the more unique game premises I've ever played (it took some real imagination to come up with this one).

In this game, you're a melon farmer and you must grow and collect your harvest of melons and get them to the market to sell. But, in order to do this, you need to protect them from the “Bouncing Kamungas”, which are falling from the clouds and determined to squash your melon harvest into pulp. Your only weapon is a pitch fork, which you use to impale the Kamungas. You also have to watch out for lightning strikes, which can hit you while using your pitch fork. As the level goes on, the clouds get lower and the lighting gets deadlier.

Once you've harvested enough melons, you then must drive your truck, loaded up with your harvest, to the market. But, watch out! The road has got “peronies” lying in wait for you. If you drive over them too quickly, your truck bounces and you will lose some of the melons. Get to the market in time and receive a bonus for each melon that stays in the truck.

Now, that's a heck of an idea for a video game!

It took a while for me to warm up to this game. At first, I wasn't all too impressed with it. But, after the third or fourth time of playing it, I started to understand what I was doing and I enjoy it much more, now. I'm not saying I'm good at the game. Quite frankly, I find that it gets very tough very quickly and it frustrated the “heck” out of me at times. But, because the idea for the game is such an odd-ball, I keep coming back for more.

You first have to plant your melon seeds, then wait for them to grow so you can harvest the melon fruit. Trying to keep the Kamungas from flattening them for the duration of their growing phase can seem like forever. Then, once you collect the melons, it's another challenge to keep them from getting stolen from you by a pesky snake in the garden.

One of the things that confused me was how the snake in the garden was to be dealt with. The game instructions states that, if the snake makes it too far onto the screen, it will steal all of the melons you've been able to harvest. So, the advice is to chase it off the screen before it gets too far. But, no matter how early I did this, I still had my melon count striped away. Turns out, what you really need to do is keep your distance from the snake when it appears. This makes a lot more sense to me anyway. If the snake steals your harvest, keep away from it and don't rush towards it.

But, the real challenge in this game is how fast the number of raining Kamungas increases. Also, for a bunch of bouncing blobs, they have really great aim and it doesn't take them long to wipe out any crops you've got planted. I find it a real challenge to keep the melon plants around long enough to harvest them. My strategy is basically standing over one plant at a time and repel the Kamungas as best I can. If the snake gets too close, then I abandon it and hope it goes away in time for me to harvest.

I've only made it to “level 3”, I guess you'd call it. That is, I was able to collect enough melons to go to market twice. But, that was just due to plain luck.

The game's controls are pretty easy; left and right to move, down to plant a melon seed, up to use the pitch fork, and fire button to harvest melons. When you're driving your truck, left and right to slow down and speed up.

It's a simple sounding and looking game, but I find it to be very challenging (and frustrating at times), but on top of all of that, it is certainly unique. So, if there are any game developers out there thinking about a remake ;-), please make sure you give credit where credit is due.


★★☆☆ - Is certainly a unique game, but unfortunately I don't really see myself putting much more time into it. Interesting for a while, but too obscure to be entertaining for long.

The Bouncing Kamungas Protect your harvest
Off to the market Lose a life

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reviews/kamungas.txt · Last modified: 2024/04/08 12:21 by David