IVG App Review Round-up (26/3/13)

In this week’s app review round-up, save kittens from forest fires, alter gravity to collect hearts, help an alien suffering from memory loss, and partake in some trap shooting with fish. You know; the usual.


Jones on Fire

Platforms: iOS, Android: Price: Rs 110


That should really be enough for you to buy the game, especially if you love cats the same borderline obsessive way that the internet does. Jones on Fire is a game about saving kitties from a raging forest fire.

If you prefer more assessment, Jones on Fire is another addition to the endless runner/platformer genre, but with interesting progression, tight controls and a really wacky, hyper-pixelated art style. The way the game looks may not be everyone’s cup of tea, though it is certainly distinctive, and in my opinion, fits the game like a glove. The most distinctive feature about the game, however, is the fact that you start each run with three lives.

The player must navigate fires and logs blocking the way by either jumping or charging (similar to sliding) through them, collecting kitties all along the way. Stumble too much and the fire will catch up to you, causing you to lose a life. Losing three lives will require the player to start over.

There are marked breaks on the run in the form of fire stations, where the player can use the accumulated kitties to upgrade their abilities and boosters. The playable segments between breaks increase in difficulty, indicated by a hazard system.

There is a real sense of progression, and with each run, the player feels the urge to beat his or her previous hazard level. With its awesome controls and useful upgrades, it’s a game you should not pass up on, especially if you are a fan of the genre.

Plus, saving kitties will guarantee you a spot in heaven.



1001 Attempts

Platforms: iOS; Price: Rs 55

1001 Attempts has a very simple idea at its core. The game world is a single room with three controls for the player character – move left, move right and gravity reverse.

On reversing gravity, the player character flies and sticks to the roof. A number of hearts spawn in the room, which you must collect in order to improve your score. Additionally, obstacles such as spikes or moving fireballs keep spawning, which will kill you with a single touch. These obstacles get more creative the longer you play, and the objective is to score as much as possible by collecting hearts before you die.

That is pretty much the game. There are no missions to complete, or abilities or power ups. It is a fast paced game with retro graphics. I would guess the developers were trying to recreate the success of Super Hexagon with the difficulty and pacing, but the game falters by giving the control over pacing to the player, especially in the initial moments of the game when you can be careful and take it slow. By doing that, however, you lose the opportunity to score high before things get hectic.

It’s a good game for some bite-sized fun, powered by a unique core concept, but the lack of any form of progression kills any replay value.




Platforms: iOS; Price: Rs 55

While the endless running genre is one pillar that supports the mobile gaming market, the physics-based puzzle genre is another. Cyto is among the latest in the genre, the premise being that an alien creature caught in an alien world must recover his memories and figure out what happened to it by collecting glowing particles in various levels.

Most of the levels have circular platforms, where Cyto can attach to specific points on their surfaces. By dragging and slinging (yes, like Angry Birds), Cyto must collect as many glowing particles as he or she can and reach the end of the level. Various plot points unlock at collecting a set number of particles, though the story itself is nothing to write home about. The game scales itself quite well by introducing new mechanics such as the ability to stretch out farther from certain points, slip streams for Cyto to flow in, and even portals. However, Cyto does suffer from the problem that most games in this genre are facing: the lack of creativity in building a premise for not just the plot, but the game elements itself.

While it’s fun to play through 72 levels (with more coming in), you cannot shake the sense that everything about the game is force-fitted to cater to it. It lacks the quirk and the style in the characters and game world that pack in a little extra to the game. That is not to say that the visuals are not good. Cyto is an incredibly atmospheric game, with a dark, smooth palette and music that fits right in with the theme. If you are a fan of physics puzzlers, Cyto is right up your alley, but I would still rather play Angry Birds.



Ridiculous Fishing: A Tale of Redemption

Platforms: iOS; Price: Rs 170

You need to play Ridiculous Fishing even if it is just to see what would happen if a chainsaw is attached to a fishing line. But that’s only one reason to play what has to be one of the most outstanding games to have come out on the platform in recent times.

Ridiculous Fishing is a much talked about offering from Vlambeer, the independent studio behind indie classic Super Crate Box. As the name suggests, everything you do in the game is utterly ridiculous. And outright fun.

You start off on your boat and drop your line into the water. The objective is to reach as deep as possible without catching any fish by tilting your device. Once you catch a fish, you start reeling in your catch, and the object is to grab hold of as many fish as possible on the way up. Once out, your catch is tossed up in the air, and you must shoot the gills off them by tapping them on the screen before they fall back into the water.

It’s a very simple concept, but is thoroughly addictive thanks to excellent progression through the game. To keep you hooked, there are many varieties of fish to be caught, and progression to newer areas (with new fish) only happens once you catch a prerequisite number of species. Some of them are rare, some of them reside only in the deepest waters, and there is always one prize catch which resides at the bottom and is incredibly difficult to reach. As you go along, you can upgrade your arsenal with the money you earn such as buying a longer line, better guns, and gadgets such as the aforementioned chainsaw, which allows you to power through without catching any fish till the fuel lasts. Also, shooting the gills off fish with a minigun is more awesome than you could imagine.

The game’s visuals are worth a mention for their uniqueness. At art style is old school, but with a touch of contemporary art, which makes it stand out. Each fish exudes personality even with minimal or no animations, which is quite a feat. The game’s story unfolds via conversations that are great fun to follow on Brydr, a sort of a “clone” of Twitter. Those who are aware of Vlambeer’s history will immediately see it as a cheeky reference to past times.

While the game comes with a comparatively high price tag, you will be hard pressed to find a more fun and addictive game on the App Store. There is absolutely no reason to miss out on this one.


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