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To-Fu: The Trials of Chi Review
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To-Fu: The Trials of Chi, a fun physics puzzler from HotGen, was just released in the app store. While a stretchy cube of tofu isn’t the most traditional hero, if playing with our food was normally this much fun, our kitchen would be a disaster area.

To-Fu: The Trials of Chi Pros:

  • Terrific puzzle design
  • Great soundtrack that complements the game’s style
  • Simple control system that allows for fairly precise aiming
  • Three emblems to earn on each of the 100 levels
  • Gradually introduces new elements throughout

To-Fu: The Trials of Chi Cons:

  • No social gaming integration means no leaderboards or achievements for status junkies
  • Somewhat repetitive
  • Target number of moves is quite difficult to achieve on many levels

To-Fu features 100 levels of flingin’-flangin’ fun. The goal of each is to safely transport our hero through the hazards and into the pink Fortune Kitty to complete the level. Along the way, there are a number of light blue Chi balls for you to collect by flying through them with your body. The number of times that you fling yourself is tracked by a counter, as well. Each level allows you to earn up to 3 emblems: one for completing the level, one for capturing all of the Chi, and one for completing the level within a specified number of moves. Given the placement of Chi, there won’t be many instances where a single playthrough will net you all three emblems, requiring you to concentrate on one goal or another as you play each level. There are multiple surface areas that To-Fu will use. He sticks to wooden areas and remains stationary. There are also conveyor belts that he’ll stick to that move in a single direction. To-Fu can stick to glass, but he’ll slowly backslide on its vertical surface. There are also areas that To-Fu cannot stick to, but he’ll ricochet off of them, which can allow you to travel great distances if you utilize a bunch of these surfaces and hit the proper angles.

Hazards abound throughout the game, and new dangers are introduced all of the time. You’ll start by wending your way through levels full of spiky patches. Before long, you’ll be contending with moving platforms, spinning platforms, buzzsaws, lasers, and a bunch of objects that will require precise movements to avoid. Collecting all of the Chi usually isn’t too difficult, but meeting the target number of moves can seem like an impossible challenge at times. In all, it’s a polished offering that captured our attention and made us use our noodles to solve some devious puzzles.

Graphically, the Retina Display visuals look crisp, and all of the various elements combine to create some enjoyable puzzles. The animations are smooth and To-Fu’s stretchiness feels fairly natural. Smashing into a set of spikes will knock To-Fu off of the board with a groan, as his red headband pops off of his head and floats harmlessly after him. Ramming into Fortune Kitty results in a satisfying shower of pixels as you transition to the next level. Flinging through a large open space offers a good sense of speed, with To-Fu continuing on in a straight line until he contacts an object. The soundtrack feels Asian-inspired, with chimes and occasional gong sounds, similar to Fruit Ninja. It was a pleasant backtrack that fit the game style well. The controls are strictly touch-based, as you touch To-Fu and drag in the direction that you want him to go. We’ve gotten so used to slingshot-type flinging mechanisms that require you to tug in the opposite direction that we kept trying to pull in the wrong direction at first. It’s certainly a refreshing change, and it allows for more precise aiming, as you can actually drag your finger to the spot that you want To-Fu to go to, as long as it is within your view. You can drag the screen to pan around and see off-screen areas. You can also pick up nearby Chi balls by stretching To-Fu in a short radius without releasing your finger, a helpful maneuver that you’ll use time and time again.

Replay value is pretty good, as receiving all emblems can prove to be challenging. There is no social gaming integration, nor are there any leaderboards or achievements to earn, either. As there is no timing mechanic or point totals, this is understandable and not all that missed. The level select screen allows you to see which emblems are unearned so that you can focus on playing those levels to complete your sets. At an introductory sale price of $0.99 (or $2.99 for the HD version), To-Fu: The Trials of Chi is a 4.5-Dimple offering that provides excitement to puzzle fans of all ages.

To-Fu: The Trials of Chi Review, reviewed by Kevin on 2011-05-26T02:00:49+00:00 rating 4.5 out of 5

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