Monthly Archive: October 2011

Eve Of Impact – 0.99 (Rik Schennink)

Tapping arcade games have become pretty popular within the iOS gaming community, especially ones where you fire missiles at asteroids to save a space station or planet. Eve Of Impact, by Rik Schennink is another game you can add to that list of tap firing action filled high-score chasing titles.

In Eve Of Impact, the goal of the game is to hold off the bombardment of asteroids so that as many people as possible can escape Earth, and survive. Your score is dependant on how many survivors there are, and your survivors score goes up faster the less missiles you use. You do have an unlimited number of missiles, so you can hit the asteroids with a barrage of missiles, but doing so will slow down your score. The way to score big is to figure out exactly when and where to tap depending on the incoming asteroids.
You are given warnings on the sides of the screen, with a quickly decreasing number letting you know how close the asteroid is to Earth. You are also able to scroll around space by dragging on the screen, but staying in one section of space for too long could mean that Earth is destroyed by asteroids coming at you from another direction. To save Earth, you need to send missiles out and have them explode next to the asteroids, having the shockwave push the asteroid in another direction, not to hit the asteroids head on with missiles. This adds quite a bit of strategy to the game, as groups of asteroids can usually be dealt with by using one or two missiles, so it’s almost always a good idea to try and group the asteroids together. If you don’t group them, you could end up making more work for yourself, sending an asteroid in one direction, and then back to it’s original direction by trying to send another asteroid away. It’s also easier to change the direction of a missile based on the angle that it’s coming at you. If an asteroid is coming at you from the top right of the screen, sending it towards the bottom left of the screen will almost always be easier than trying to send it to the top left side. You can also hold down on Earth to send out a shockwave, destroying all asteroids close to you, but this takes up 30% of your slowly recharging planet’s shield. All of this factors in to how you’ll play and score in Eve Of Impact.
The graphics, animations, physics, and sounds all come together to create one hell of an immersive experience, especially for an arcade tapping game. The physics are top notch, and along with the simple controls, and beautiful graphics, you can really get sucked into the game. Then coupled with the animations for explosions, and trails, it all makes it a very smooth gameplay experience.
Rik Schennink has done an amazing job with his first iOS game. Eve Of Impact will give you hours and hours of strategic high-score chasing arcade gameplay. Right now, version 1.0 does not include GameCenter, so there’s no leader boards or achievements at the moment, but they are said to be included in version 1.1, along with a color tweak and music/sound settings, so the future looks bright for Eve Of Impact. Once GameCenter is added, and players are no longer chasing only their own local high-scores, the replay value and desire to play the game will go up quite a bit, but as it is now, $0.99 is a great price for this wonderfully made title.
Eve Of Impact gets a score of 8 out of 10.

Arch Fiery – 0.99 (Photics)

Earlier this year, developer Photics released an exploratory adventure game with RPG elements called Bot. It was made with GameSalad, and really did change my impressions of the engine. With a talented enough developer, GameSalad can really make something that people will want to play. Since then, there have been more talented GS developers coming out of the woodwork, to the point where GameSalad is no longer being laughed at when brought up. Anyway, back again, with another GameSalad game, Photics has just released an interesting plat former type game called Arch Fiery.

Sadly, one of the most interesting parts of the game, it’s story, is not found within the game it-self; only in the game’s description on iTunes. You’ll control a futuristic military weapon, a miniature star, designed to protect humanity from an artificial intelligence threat. However, during a systems test, the star ended up crashing in the middle of a forest damaging it’s propulsion systems. Now it can only jump. Having this actually put into the game would have made it quite a bit better. We’re suckers for cyberpunk type stories like this, and if Photics decided to reveal more story-line as the game progressed, it could have made for one hell of a game.
You’ll guide this star through 2 environments, and 24 levels. 12 forest levels, and 12 cityscape levels. An issue popped up for me here while trying to play the 4th level of the forest world, the game kept taking me to the 4th level of the cityscape world. This opened up the 4th city level while leaving the 2nd and 3rd levels still locked. The only way I could get to the 4th forest level was to play through the 3rd forest level. I’m not sure if there are any other instances like this throughout the game, but it can be kind of annoying not being taken to the level you tap on.
Aside from that, this game enjoyable enough, but chances are you‘ll see more of what the game doesn‘t have than what it does. Each level is set up like a small obstacle course, giving you objects to bounce off of once you jump off of the ground, platforms to rotate, opening up paths, and giving you 3 stars to collect, as well as fire orbs which make you larger, and in turn, gives you more opportunities to bounce off of harmful objects throughout the levels, and gives you more points at the end of each level. End of level points are determined by how many stars you collect, how many orbs of fire you collect, and how quickly you complete the level, while the ratings for each level depend on how many stars you collected. You can use either tilt or virtual controls, while tapping on the screen to jump. The physics are surprisingly well done, but it would be great if the star’s jumping height depended on how long you held your finger on the screen. Having only one jumping height never seems to add to a game.
Photics last game, Bot, changed some gamers perceptions of what GameSalad can do. This latest game, Arch Fiery, is done with the same sort of graphic style, and has the same sort of ominous feeling to it, but it’s screaming for more. Power-ups, larger levels, jumping height based on tap length, more exploration. For $0.99, it’s still worth checking out, as it is an interesting game that has it’s moments. But it needs more before it really stands out as something special in the AppStore.
Arch Fiery gets a score of 6 out of 10.

Homerun Battle 3D 2- PREVIEW (Com2uS)

More than likely you’ve heard about one of Com2uS’ most popular games called Homerun Battle 3D! If you’re a fan of the original then you’ll probably be stoked to hear that a sequel is almost here! If you follow Com2uS on Twitter (!/com2us) then you more than likely already heard that the Homerun Battle 3D 2 beta testing has just wrapped up. I was lucky enough to be included in the beta and trust me this sequel is AMAZING! I’m not going to give to much information away because I don’t want to spoil the game, but I will let you in on the new single player mode that I just can’t stop playing. This mode is called Burning. In this mode you get a set amount of time to get as big as a score as you can get. You get scored based on perfect hits, great hits, and good hits. There’s no score for bad hits. Getting combo streaks also increases your score. Towards the bottom of the screen is a burning meter. Each good type of hit raises it until you max it out and get into burning mode. That’s the only mode that I’ll let you know about, but in the beta I found the game to be much more smoother than the first and is definitely a fantastic step up for a sequel. At this moment there’s no word on price or whether there’ll be separate versions for the iPhone and iPad, or if it’ll be a universal app. The game should be out sometime next month (November). So, look out for the game and we’ll have a full in-depth review right around the time that the game is released! You can look below to check out a poster that Com2uS released for the game.

GravCat – 0.99 (Monster Robot Studios)

When booting up a game and hearing those couple of notes, and seeing the splash screen, it’s hard not to cringe. GameSalad. There’s so many reasons people usually don’t like games done with GameSalad, lots of long loading screens, unresponsive controls, frame-rate issues, lag, poor collision detection, weird physics. Every once in a while there would be a game that ran decently, and was good enough to put up with all the loading screens, and it’s happening more often now that GameSalad has undergone a pretty heafty update. Games made with the “new” GameSalad, while still suffering from lots of loading screens, don’t take as long to load, have pretty decent controls, and don’t generally have any bad frame-rate issues. Thankfully, Monster Robot Studios new game, GravCat, is made with the new GameSalad engine. The collision detection is still a little funky, and the physics can take a little getting use to, but really, it’s one of the few GameSalad games we’ve enjoyed lately.

You’ll control a cat with some pretty nifty gear in space. The trick is, he falls in whatever direction the wheels on the bottom of his gear are facing. It’s kind of a plat former, but mainly a physics based action arcade game. To progress through the game, you’ll need to guide the cat around each of the levels, collecting all 10 of the green gems scattered throughout. There are enemies that you can land on, but only with your wheels, along with other hazards, like mines, mini-suns, rocks with orbs trapped in them, spinning fan-like blades, water, and more, including bosses, and some power-ups to help you deal with everything.
The controls take a little getting use to, and can either be two arrows, one in each bottom corner of the screen, the left one rotating your cat counter-clockwise, while the right rotates him clockwise, and when pressed together, flip your cat 180 degrees, along with two arrows at the top corners that change the direction your cat is facing, left or right, which influences the path you “fall“ along, and when pressed at the same time launch your cat, which lets you break through certain blocks, and get the orbs that are trapped inside some rocks, as well as get through water faster, and more nifty little mechanics. There’s also a tractor beam button in the upper left corner that will pick up or drag some of the objects in the game. There’s also tilt controls.
The graphics are done surprisingly well, and everything is pretty vibrant, considering it’s done with GS. The physics, like the controls, take a bit of getting use to, and the animations are done pretty well. The enemies do sometimes look a little funky walking around, and the animation for destroying them is kind of weird, but, I hate to keep saying this, considering it’s done with GameSalad, I’m pretty impressed. The collision detection, like most GameSalad made games, does need quite a bit of work. There’s countless times I’ve bounced off of air surrounding a block, and then gone back to the same block and ended up actually colliding with it before bouncing off, and some spots that needed pinpoint precision to get through two rocks that were kind of close together, but that I should have obviously been able to easily fit through, because of the “bouncy air” surrounding those rocks. The collision detection did get to be pretty frustrating.
In the end, GravCat is a decent enough game. The fact that it’s made with GameSalad can sometimes be surprising, but at other times, will make you say “figures”. There are quite a bit of mid-level loading screens telling you what certain objects can do, or how to deal with those objects, which really does take away from the flow of the gameplay. A tutorial level or two might have been a better idea than having mid-level loading to get to an info screen, though I can kind of understand why it wasn’t done in tutorial levels, as there’s quite a bit of different game mechanics, and seeing everything right off the bat would have made the first couple levels pretty boring, but a middle ground, like tutorial levels every 5 levels or something could help with the whole flow of the game. Being $0.99, and having 40+ levels, with more content on the way, and some pretty interesting gameplay makes it worth checking out if you’re into arcade type physics based anti-gravity action games. It does lack online support, and with no leader boards, there’s no real reason to replay levels. Once you’re done with the game, chances are you’ll either delete it, or keep it somewhere on your device with other games that are waiting for content updates. I guess what I’m getting at is that if you can put up with the loading screens, and are willing to get use to a games controls and physics, and don’t mind not having replay value, GravCat is a game worth checking out. It’s clear that Monster Robot Studios is talented and willing to put time and effort into their games, but I can’t stop wondering what they could do if using Unity or Corona, and I hope we get the chance to find out.
GravCat gets a score of 6 out of 10.

LightGuardian Update 1.1

One of our favorite games of the year, LightGuardian, by Lukas Penkava, has just had it’s first update, and it’s a doozy! To start things off, a new enemy has been added – the Sailboat. This new enemy distracts by circling around your lighthouse getting closer and closer with each passing second. To take it out, you’ll need to focus your light on the body of the boat while it’s moving, but luckily, it’s destroyed almost instantly. Along with this new enemy, Mr. Penkava has added two difficulty modes, Normal, and Hard. On Normal, each of the enemies will have a radar detector above them, showing the player if they are in the green, yellow, or red areas of the radar. This should help those of you who thought that the addition of a radar without dots was kind of mute, as now you can still experience the main focus of the game (searching around your lighthouse, taking note of where enemies are, and killing them based on their threat), while knowing exactly how close enemies are, and which ones are setting off your radar color changes. Hard Mode takes this away, making it a mode that’s more like how the 1.0 version of the game was, and in addition to no radar detectors above the enemies, the amount of enemies spawned is higher, getting you into the action quite a bit quicker than on Normal Mode. To make things even more interesting, a shop with upgrades has been added. Now you can not only upgrade your lighthouse light strength, but how quickly you’re bomb and light ray’s are activated, for how long your ray lasts, and how strong your bomb can become. Once you fully upgrade your bomb, it will be able to take out enemies not only in the red radar area, but the yellow as well, and be charged quicker, while your light ray will last for a full 10 seconds longer, and also be charged quicker. The tutorial has also been updated, bugs have been squashed, and there’s a nice shiny new icon as well. Be sure to check out the updated trailer, and get this hidden gem for $1.99 in the AppStore today!

Bring Me Sandwiches!! – 0.99 (Adult Swim/Grumpyface)

A lot of gamers have been wondering, when will Adult Swim put out games that aren’t mere flash games ported to the iOS? Well, wait no longer. With their release of Monsters Ate My Condo, developed by PikPok, Adult Swim Games has shown that they’re willing to support developers who have an insanely good idea packed on top of insanely weird gameplay, and with the recent release of Bring Me Sandwiches!!, developed by Grumpyface (who also made a favorite of mine, Wispin), they have started their trend of weird, but crazy good games that seem to hit every single one of our brain’s addiction centers.

The game Bring Me Sandwiches!! is a plat former that puts you in control of Jimmy Nugget, an ordinary fast food employee. It’s your job to create sandwiches that an invading alien race is craving, and in return, they’ve promised not to destroy Earth. You’ll need to carry around a piece of bread, and run over objects, in turn, making the sandwich. Once you have made the sandwich 100% full, you need to find one of the various aliens floating around the levels, and give it to him. Each level has an objective at the beginning, sometimes you’ll need to find a cat and put it on the sandwich, other times, 6 chickens, or 4 sandwiches. In the case of multiple sandwiches, each time you take a 100% or more complete sandwich to an alien, they will give you another piece of bread, and you can then pick up bigger items than the last one, generally ending up with you picking up small buildings and people and placing them on the bread, making it a sort of feel like a plat forming version of Katamari. There are also 3 different “golden bread”, like stars, to try and get in each level. One for score, one for time, and one for completing the level without getting hit a certain amount of times.
There are 4 different environments, each with 6 to 8 different levels. You’ll travel from the US to Mexico, Italy, and Japan, each time having different objects in the levels, different enemies, as well as, of course, different looking environments. The graphics and animations are done amazingly well, with almost everything in each level being animated, and the graphics almost fitting perfectly as an extension of the crazy Monsters Ate My Condo. The music also just tops it off, completing the crazy cartoon world experience.
Now, controls. Controls are always a huge part of plat formers, as are physics, and Bring Me Sandwiches!! is no exception. Amazingly enough, there are 3 different control options, and the virtual buttons that are one of those options is not the tightest, most fluid feeling control scheme. For once, an invisible slider on the left side, and jump tapping on the right is incredibly accurate and tight, and leaves the bottom parts of the screen open and un-cluttered. There are also tilt controls, but there’s not many who favor those in plat formers, though if you are one of the few, they are tighter and more accurate than most. Combined with the perfect physics of the Bring Me Sandwiches world, the game comes together to create an amazingly smooth, perfectly fun plat former, that doesn’t require you to think about the controls at all while playing.
Grumpyface has shown that they know exactly what it takes to reach gamers addictive habits, exploiting them in a way we here at The App Shack can’t help but love. Following the new $0.99 trend with Adult Swim games, the amount of content, and crazy gameplay makes it a must-buy for fans of any iOS genre. GameCenter is included, giving us 13 different leader boards, one for combined score, one for combined time in each of the environments, as well as overall, and a total sandwich ingredients board, along with 22 crazy achievements to try and snag, adding tons of replay value. This is one game you don’t want to miss, as it’s one of the best plat formers available for the iOS. It’s also looking like the beginning of a trend we don’t want Adult Swim to stop; Crazy games that are insanely fun to play for the low-low price of one dollar. How could we ask for more?
Bring Me Sandwiches gets a score of 10 out of 10.

Whale Trail Preview (out tonight)

Let me start by saying this: I love endless games. They are the best genre on the AppStore and the most crowded also, so its very hard to stand out in the genre, you will have to make a great new addicting game to succeed. My Top 3 games are all endless, so I was very happy to know about the existence of Whale Trail, by Ustwo Productions, an England based developer, a game PocketGamer called “What Tiny Wings wanted to be”. That sentence made me want this game above everything else right then, so I took matters seriously and was granted a BETA Version of the game after some chatting. 

   Once downloaded, I loaded it and what my eyes saw was far beyond my expectations, it is the most polished BETA I ever seen, everthing is perfect. In fact, its one of the most polished games ive seen in a while… from the menus to the music and to the actual game, everything matches perfectly, making a very congruent game that feels right. Menus are very polished, with lots of info (including a stats and scores page with tons of them, like Number of Zone Reached or Time Played or Speed Boosts Hit and of course Achievements, up to 45 of them, making it a longer snack than usual and a nice time killer for achievements freaks like me) and all being very accessible. 

   All the tiny details like being able to start a game from the achievements menu or seeing your world ranking without needing to go into GameCenter is cool, and the “Game Over” screen is also wonderful, displaying all the information you need right there. Your score is made by the sum of three stats: Time Flying, Blubbles Collected and Clouds Smashed, and sums it up for the total score, so you know exactly what gives you more points and it feels very fair for us gamers. There also info with your personal best, worlds best and your rank, also gives you the info about things like Distance flown. The whole package reeks of  quality and the menus are the prime example of this.

   Second thing you notice is the soft happy tune made by Gruff Rhys (music video below). Once you hear it a couple of times it gets stucked in your head forever and wont let you go… and after two weeks playing this every day, its still fun to hear, so you probably wont get bored with it. And theres an instrumental version when you are playing the game, so its different from the main menu song theme. 

   I think now its about time to tell you about its gameplay, and this is where Whale Trail really shines. Maybe you are thinking that this game is too similar to Tiny Wings, I cant blame you for that, as its have some things in common, like the one touch control method or changing backgrounds, but there is where comparisons stop. Whale Trail is so much more than that. While both games are about being fun, Whale Trail has many different things going on to keep you entertained for a long time. 
   Level design is excellent, the clouds are perfectly placed to make this a roller coaster experience, going up and down evading obstacles (some move, for greater challenge) while collecting blubbles. Oh the blubbles, they are so important… they are what keeps you alive, what keep you going and also what gives you your multiplier. This is a different kind of endless game, one where you don’t die instantly with the first thing in your way, here you have a life bar that consists of how many fuel you have left, and the fuel are the blubbles. If you collect blubbles with out hitting any clouds that gets in the way your multiplier rises and therefore your scores augments very quickly, but if you touch a cloud, both your score and life decreases, and if your blubbles fuel depletes completely, you dive in below the screen and you will end in you arch nemesis hands (in this cases cloud tentacles) and get captured. And there are shiny stars along on the path for you to collect, and if you collect enough of them Frenzy Mode will start, and here is the funniest part of the game, as you gain considerable speed and can smash clouds, making your revenge on the clouds a very very fun experience.

   Willow The Whale has some very peculiar friends that will try to help you along the way, and they come in at the intersections to feed you. When you first arrive at the new segment, the background changes completely, and every segments is very different within each other, spawning all the rainbow colors, and there are seven of them with more to come. 

   Whats outstanding is the level design of the sections. The first section is very easy with many many blubbles, but as you progress into the game, blubbles starts to spare out and there are not so many of them anymore, so you better not run into a cloud or you will die and this is the roller coaster begins… as i said before, level design is excellent, as it has you traveling between very closely attached clouds, cloud tunnels, clouds that moves around and all sort of cloud positioned everywhere to make this a memorable ride. And the pace gets really fast so you will have to put all your effort in evading clouds while gathering bubbles while trying to also collect stars while going, lets say it again, fast. Good luck. 

   Oh wait, I almost forgot, there also different paths to follow, some exploration to make with the Speed Boosts that allows you to go higher, and explore the heights on the look out for bubbles. This magical game is so good that I could go on and on and on speaking about all the good and polished things this game has to offer, and all the fun you will get on the way, so I just will say one last thing: This is the game Tiny Wings wanted to be. 

   Remember, Whale Trail, the next big hit will be out for iPhone/iPod Touch and iPad tonight, 20th of October on the AppStore for $0.99. I will have a full review when its out to tell you everything you need to know about all the promised upgrades when the final build, the completed game, hits shelves everywhere.

For more info visit the developer website:

Update for Updates!

We’ve fallen a little bit behind in keeping up with updates for games that we here at The App Shack have reviewed, and we’re very, very sorry about that. But we promise that no more will we slack off when it comes to keeping our readers updated about the games we’ve reviewed and come to love.

So here we go;
Snorbies (Nepik);

This match 3+ bubble popper that we reviewed back in August, has just gotten a pretty nice update, addressing a couple of the issues we brought up while reviewing. For starters, the game now has music. Nice, relaxing downtempo beats and soothing synth-lines will accompany you in your quest to clear out all the Snorbies level after level. No more hearing only the beeps of Snorbies hitting eachother. To make it even more interesting, Nepik has included in-game high-score leaderboards for each Mode, along with boards for most Snorbies woken up, Snorbies lumped together, and your single shot record. These are not split up by difficulty, so there’s a chance that someone playing the game on easy could hold the number 1 position over someone playing the game on extreme. We don’t know if that appeals to you, but we think it’s great that all players are getting lumped together regardless of what skill level they are to compete for high-scores. Nepik has also made a more appealing icon, showing the cute blue Snorbie in a not so cute way. Oooo, scary!
The Adventures Of Timmy: Run Kitty Run (CB Labs);

This awesome platformer than hit the AppStore last month has gotten a performance and bug squashing update in preparation for their next update, which will add a new control scheme, VIRTUAL BUTTONS! But for now, they made Timmy run a lot smoother, and made it iOS 5 compatible. With the bug fixes (most of which, we didn’t even catch in our review), multitasking has been fixed, and you can now accept calls when playing, and then jump right back into the action after you’re done chatting away, as well as some camera issues being fixed. Apparently the camera shoot a bit for some players, and this has been completely taken care of. Along with these fixes, CB Labs has made the game run smoother on all devices. The developers are now also active on the Touch Arcade thread, and working with players to try and make the game 2G compatible, as well as taking suggestions for future improvements. They’ve also shared their support e-mail with everyone, asking that if you have any issues, questions, or complaints, to e-mail them at , and it’s always nice to see a development company become active in forums, and through e-mail. So you can expect The Adventures Of Timmy to only get better as time goes on.
Edge Extended (Mobigame);

One of the best puzzle games in the AppStore, Edge Extended, has just recently gotten an update giving it 4 new levels. This isn’t really a HUGE update, but it’s still a very welcome one, and in the end, when Mobigame has slowly added 4 levels here, 2 levels there, 3 levels here, you can be sure that the game will almost feel like it’s original 1.0 version was just the frame of the Edge Extended household.
Bloo Kid (Eiswuxe);

Bloo Kid, a single screen platformer released earlier this year, has just gotten an update brining OpenFeint support into the mix. You can now compete with other platformer freaks around the globe for the most number of stars collected. This addition brings a whole new level of replay value to the game, as online features usually do, and we couldn’t be more happy about it. Also in the update, various bug fixes, making Bloo Kid run smoother, and play better. Thank you Eiswuxe!
Supergay (Klicrainbow);

One of our favorite politically incorrect games, Supergay, has just gotten an update including 6 new levels. You can now go through and play 6 more minigames, leading Tom just a little further down the road of scientific and personal realization, bringing the game one more step closer to completion.

Squirmee And The Puzzling Tree Gets An Update + Becomes Squirmee REDUX

Earlier this year, what has become one of our favorite puzzlers hit the AppStore, and it went by the name of Squirmee And The Puzzling Tree. It was a difficult puzzler that scratched every itch in our little game obsessed minds. However, as is pretty common these days with games in the AppStore, Squirmee did not sell well at all, and people were pretty upset by the difficulty of the game, even though you were able to skip every level that frustrated you. Lavafish Studio tried a couple of things to try and make it better, easing up on the 3 star times, re-doing the tutorial, all the while adding more and more content to the game. Nothing seemed to work for them though, so they decided to do something almost un-heard of with iOS game developers. They re-built Squirmee from the ground up, making all 75 levels easier, as well as tweaking other aspects of the game to make it more accessible to the casual iOS gamer, which, in turn, actually ended up making Squirmee a whole hell of a lot more fun.
Now, instead of challenging or maybe frustrating the player, Squirmee is a casual puzzler that is, while still challenging, more of a game that you can play to relax and experience. If you already have Squirmee, the update has gone live, and chances are, you might want to re-play the whole game. If you loved Squirmee the way it was, you might want to back-up a copy on your PC, or on another device before updating, so that if you feel the game has become too easy, you can delete it, and re-install the previous version. But it’s pretty safe to say that LavaFish, with the amount of work they’ve done on making Squirmee fun and entertaining for as many gamers as possible, deserves a second chance if you didn’t like Squirmee the first time around, and even more support if you’re already a fan. A HUGE thank you to LavaFish, for sticking with it, and not pulling the game, adding ads to the game, or just forgetting about the game because of low sales. Persistence like that is something that, these days, should definitely be supported, and praised.

Robo5 – 0.99 (Yuguosoft)

Puzzle games have gone in all sorts of different directions since the iPod came out. The openness of the AppStore, coupled with the mind blowing amount of talented developers, and the range of possibilities that the touch screen brings to the table makes for some very interesting games. However, it kind of seems like puzzle games have hit a rough patch. Almost everything entering the AppStore these days is a physics based Angry Birds or Tiki Totems type game. So it was a real surprise when I started up Yuguosoft’s new action puzzler, Robo5.

In the game, you’ll control a robot who’s trying to find out who he is, and why he is here. You’ll solve a series of box moving puzzles in order to move through the worlds. Each of the levels has 3 stars that you can earn, one for completing the level in a set amount of time, one for collecting all of the items, and one for having under a certain amount of box moves. Every time you earn 20 stars, a Diary, or challenge, level is unlocked. These give you more back-story on Robot Number 5, and the world he lives in, and when you complete the Diary levels, even more is revealed.
The controls in Robo5 are simple enough, tap and swipe. You’ll tap to move to a box, and swipe to grab and move boxes. You can also tap on the box you are already standing on to hang off of the side of it, enabling you to move around piles of boxes that might be in the way. You’ll need to move boxes around opening and creating pathways to get to the top of, and the exit, of the levels. In order for a box to stay in the air, or be held up, it needs to be touching another box on one of it’s 4 bottom edges. There are different types of boxes, expanding the puzzle element quite a bit. Along with the regular boxes, some will crumble after standing on them twice, some will start to count down from 5 and then explode after you step on them, some boxes can float in the air, some give off electricity shocks, and there are some which are shown with a big “?” on them, and these can turn into any type of box after you touch them, so you never really know what you’re going to get with them. Put all of these together, and there’s some pretty wild puzzles that you will need to get Robot Number 5 through in order to make it through the game.
The graphics are amazingly detailed, and some of the best I’ve seen in an iOS game. I would put them upto par with Unreal Engine graphics, even though they did not use Unreal to create the game. The atmospheres are very immersive, and along with the animations for movement, and the music within the game, it creates quite an amazing world.
With Yuguosoft pricing both the iPod and iPad version at only $0.99, it’s an amazing buy. It’s taken me about 10 hours to get to the last level of the game, which I am currently stumped on, but I still need to go back and get 3 stars in about 25 of the 40 levels, not including the 7 out of 8 Diary levels I have yet to complete. GameCenter integration completes the game adding quite a bit of replay value, even for gamers who manage to get 3 stars on every level. 6 leader boards, one for a combined score in each world, and one for your highest world score, along with 32 achievements, some being very hard to snag. For a puzzle game, Robo5 goes above and beyond the expectations of gamers, and gives them an incredibly immersive, amazingly thoughtful and enriching gameplay experience. I really can not recommend Robo5 enough, to any and all gamers. The difficulty in the later levels is pretty high, but once you get to the end of the levels, the feeling you’ll have is more than enough of a reward. Yuguosoft has definitely created a contender for Game Of The Year, and over the last week has easily moved into my top 5 of 2011, and has set a new standard for action puzzle games of the future.
Robo5 gets a perfect score of 10 out of 10, along with a VERY strong recommendation from The App Shack for fans of every genre.