This go-round, we look at an endless jumper and a pair of tilt-based games. Check out the reviews to learn whether we liked them or not.
Draw Jump is a quaint endless jumper developed by Pear Comp and published by Electronic Arts. The goal is to get Cosmo, a red mushroom-shaped entity, as high into the sky as possible by drawing lines underneath him from which he can bounce upward. The length of the line is limited and it disappears after Cosmo hits it or if you attempt to draw another line. As he ascends, Cosmo may bump into a number of kukkaja, which look like small sunflowers. After contacting a specific number of these objects, he earns enough boost juice to take a quick jaunt and add a good bit of distance to his ever-growing score. As he continues to climb, he’ll encounter spinners and tree branches that should be avoided, as well as green circles and yellow suns that affect Cosmo’s trajectory by spinning him or launching him in a random direction. Once you fall off of the screen bottom, the game ends and your top height becomes your score. Scores can be posted to Facebook or tweeted on Twitter, but there is no other social gaming network integration. The graphics are simplistic, with a hand-drawn look and feel. Animated clouds move about on solid colored backgrounds for the most part. The soundtrack loops a simple track that can get a bit annoying after a bit. The controls are swipe-based, showing responsiveness and easy use. Unfortunately, the angle of the drawn platform doesn’t seem to have much impact on the direction that Cosmo bounces, as it does in other similar titles. We found it difficult to direct his path toward the kukkaja in order to earn boosts faster. Replay value comes from trying to top your own score, unless you use Facebook to annoy your friends with posts about the games you play on your iDevice. At $0.99 (or $2.99 for the HD version), Draw Jump is a 3-Dimple snoozer.
On A Tilt
On A Tilt is a quirky tilt-based exercise from Brilliant AiRiC. Featuring both a Survival mode and Arcade mode, On A Tilt challenges you to angle your device into the required orientations as quickly as possible. Each screen side contains a tilt-based slider, similar to the bubble sliders in a level. As you tilt the device, the marker in each slider moves one way or the other. In both modes, the target areas appear as shaded sections, which are either stationary, shrinking, or moving. In Survival mode, you typically need to get sliders into all shaded areas and hold for a 3-count. Success will add a small amount of time back to the timer. Once the timer expires, your score is the number of goals you completed. Arcade mode gives you 1 minute to hit as many shaded targets as possible, with no need to hold for any length of time. As long as the marker hits the right area, it counts. You do not earn any extra time. Both modes are a blast to play, and they both foster frantic gameplay as players twist this way and that to try to maximize their scores. OpenFeint and GameCenter integration provide global leaderboards. There are also 8 achievements to earn. The graphics are simple and clear, though there is a tendency to lose a good visual on the shaded areas at extreme angles, which can be frustrating. An upbeat track plays in the background, but we almost didn’t even notice as the sound effects take charge and indicate the 3-count in Survival mode. Controls use the accelerometer only, and they are pretty spot on. Replay value is very good, as the game has a strong one-more-try aspect to it and chasing people on the leaderboards can be a lot of fun. At $0.99, On A Tilt is a 4.5-Dimple gem.
X-Rat is a clever labyrinth-style game from CYCLONELAB that tasks you with leading a rat through complex mazes while collecting cheese and avoiding dangers. There are 45 levels across 3 worlds, and each new level seems to introduce a new element or danger. Early hazards include robot enemies that hunt you down, hammer mushrooms that smash you if you get too close, and circular fans in the floor that slice you up if you fall in. Each level is also set either over water or hovering in air, as you can fall off of the sides of the map into oblivion if you aren’t careful. The rat is controlled via accelerometer, which requires that you hold the device parallel to the floor as a baseline. There do not appear to be any options for tilt calibration. The controls were fluid and fairly tight, though the rat can pick up speed quickly and become difficult to stop on a dime. The graphics provide a top-down view that doesn’t utilize Retina Display graphics during gameplay, though menus appear to be very crisp and clear. The overall appearance is a little fuzzy and washed out, but serviceable. The soundtrack has an arcade quality about it, providing a good backdrop for the action. Replay value comes from attempting to nab all 3 blocks of cheese before reaching the exit, and doing so as speedily as possible to maximize your level score. OpenFeint integration provides leaderboards for each level, but no achievements. For $0.99, X-Rat is a fun, 4-Dimple offering.
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