Treemaker – 0.99 (Mikrotie Ltd.)

Treemaker is a new casual puzzle game from Mikrotie Ltd that isn’t set up like a traditional puzzle game. In it, you will swing your character from platform to platform, using it’s long rope-like arms, collecting all of the yellow orbs in each level that let you grow trees. Getting from point A to point B, but always requiring you to use your head to get to the last orb using the least amount of rope moves you can.

There’s no time-limit in Treemaker, which of course, makes it more casual. But the difficulty is still pretty high. You are given unlimited rope connections, shown in the top left corner, but in order to progress though the game, you will need to get 2 out of 3 stars on every level. To do this, you need to have 2 rope connections left, giving you an end result of 2 stars. If you make it to the end of the level, collecting each of the yellow orbs, with 3 possible rope connections left, you’ll get 3 stars. So you’ll always be trying to find out which platforms are the best to connect to in order to get to the end of the level.
The controls are simple, touch where you want to fling your rope-arm to, having it automatically connect to the platform, then tap again to let go, either using your momentum to fling yourself forward, or waiting until you stop swinging to drop directly down. In conjunction with the physics of the game, these controls work very, very well. Where most rope-connecting/swing-to-get-to-the-end-of-the-level games fail in this aspect, Treemaker executes it flawlessly. The physics are done amazingly well, and the controls are perfect, making it easy to land exactly where you want to. You can also pinch the screen to zoom in or out, in order to see more or less of the levels.
Graphics-wise, Treemaker is beautiful. Available in HD, and Universal, we’re lucky enough to experience the game in all of it’s amazing graphical glory. However, the environments are not varied at all. You’re given the same basic background image, just colored differently in each world. Doing more with the background images would have made Treemaker absolutely stunning. As for the level design, it is very well thought out, and will test your reflexes and mind, but the platforms could have also used some more variation other than just some color change for the areas you can’t touch without dying. These circles that are under the platforms you’ll be trying to land on change colors as you change worlds, but other than that, there’s 4 types of platforms you’ll see in the game. Regular platforms, spring platforms, spinning platforms, and half-pipes, and these half-pipes only appear in two of the levels. More variation with the platforms would have been a welcome addition to the game as well. But with all of this, Treemaker still stands out as very polished and professional graphical eye-candy. It’s worth mentioning the music and effects as well, as it really helps fill out the calming atmosphere and feel of the game.
In the end, Treemaker is a casual puzzle game, that can be very challenging if you decide to go for 3 stars in each level. But there are only 18, very short, levels, and most players will be done with the game in an hour, maybe two if you decide to take your time. There is no GameCenter or OpenFeint integration, and no scoring system aside from the star rankings, so replay value and drive to get better star rankings for each level is kind of lost. Playing through the game once, you might not open the game again but once or twice. There’s also no in-game achievements, which is surprising, because Treemaker is a game that could possibly be full of achievements and challenges. It is only $0.99, and still well worth purchasing. Hopefully the developers will add some more mechanics, levels, online features, a scoring system, really, I’d just be happy if they added to it period. Mikrotie Ltd is obviously a very talented developing team. What they have given us shows their immense creativity, loads of potential, and anything they decide to add to it would only improve the game. I will definitely be keeping my eyes on Mikrotie Ltd, as they have earned a fan for as long as they keep making games.
I’m giving Treemaker a score of 7.5 out of 10.

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