Volcano Escape, an escape-based vertical platformer from Bravo Game Studios, is now available from the app store. Combining dual-stick shooter elements with rise-as-high-as-you-can gameplay, Volcano Escape manages to marry two distinct genres into one exciting adventure.
Volcano Escape Pros:
- Crisp, colorful art style
- Dual-stick shooter/vertical platformer mash-up
- Randomized layouts and plenty of power-ups
- GameCenter integration for global leaderboards and achievements
- Challenge friends via Facebook and Twitter
Volcano Escape Cons:
- Wonky controls, jump and fire buttons should be switched
- Floaty jump physics are annoying
- Repetitive gameplay
- Lava blends into background
As Colonel Charlie Bravo, you are tossed into an active volcano whose lava level is steadily rising. You must jump from platform to platform in an effort to escape your fate. The positioning of the platforms changes from game to game, in an attempt to keep things fresh and interesting. There are enemies along the way that will cost you a heart if you touch them. Lose three hearts and you die on the spot. However, use your weapon to shoot them and they turn into stone, which can be used as a platform to allow you an easier escape. There are plenty of power-ups and power-downs in suitcases spread throughout the volcano. Power-ups include jet packs, pogo sticks, extra hearts, and other items that can help you survive longer. Power-downs can reduce your jumping ability and put a serious crimp in your getaway. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be any kind of tutorial or explanation of the various powers you’ll find, so you must learn through trial-and-error. The ? suitcases provide a problem, as you never know whether they’ll help or hurt, so you’re taking a chance by snagging them. The goal is to get as high as possible, with your final height acting as your high score. Scores can be compared on the global leaderboards and posted to Facebook.
Graphically, the retina display supported graphics look really good. The bright colors pop, and there is a lot of detailed action considering you’re in the depths of a volcano. Unfortunately, the rising lava often blends in with the background, making it difficult to tell exactly where it is. We typically hit the lava as a result of missing a jump or bouncing off of the bottom of a platform. The game’s pace is fairly slow and not nearly as frantic as we expected given the nature of the situation. The soundtrack and effects are decent without really enhancing the game significantly, though they do serve to create some tension. The controls do leave us desiring some modifications, namely switching the positioning of the jump and fire button. As the main component of the game is jumping, we feel that the jump button should be in the right dual-stick position, as you hit this much more often than the fire button. The fire and jump buttons occasionally get confused for each other, too, resulting in a jump when you mean to shoot, and vice versa. The left stick handled movements pretty well. We were not fans of the floaty physics employed when jumping, though effective use of the double-jump did help us to achieve pretty good scores once we got the hang of it.
Replay value is ok, as the desire to rise higher and best our previous score did keep us playing. GameCenter leaderboards and achievements also provide incentive to press on, and Facebook integration could be a plus for gamers who like to boast to their friends online. There are 5 unlockable characters to play as, but they are simply cosmetic changes that do not affect the gameplay or your ability to outrun the molten mass. Overall, it’s a quality game that could use some tweaking in a few areas to improve the experience dramatically. At $1.99, Volcano Escape feels a bit overpriced for what is offered. Still, it remains an interesting 4-Dimple game.
Volcano Escape Review,