Gesundheit!, a gorgeous new puzzler from Revolutionary Concepts and Konami, is now available from the app store. Featuring charming characters, outstanding puzzle design, terrific visuals, and catchy music, Gesundheit! fires on all cylinders to provide an overwhelmingly enjoyable experience.
- Gorgeous art style, empathetic characters, and a polished presentation
- Terrific soundtrack and cute sound effects enhance the experience
- Easy-to-use controls
- Beautiful level design that is challenging and fun
- Stealth-based gameplay with variety of elements and enemies
- GameCenter integration for leaderboards and achievements
- Some control issues involving unresponsiveness
Gesundheit! follows the adventure of a young green pig with the sniffles. Taunted by his male peers for his sneezing, he withdraws from the crowd. A female peer takes pity on him and offers a hanky, just as some ominous monsters enter the picture, chasing the pigs in an effort to make a meal out of them. Out of fear (or sheer illness), our green friend sneezes a green goo ball that catches the eye of one monster. Realizing that he can use his sickness to save his female friend, our hero sets off to vanquish the monsters and rescue his damsel in distress.
And so begins one of the most engaging puzzlers we’ve come across in quite some time. Each level is crafted to provide a wide-open experience that allows you to use any means necessary to trap the bad guys. There is no right or wrong way, but you are measured on the length of time it takes to complete a level, as well as how many snot balls you used and how many of the 3 starfruit you collected in the process. Levels contain varying numbers and types of monsters, with a corresponding bear-trap like device that each must be lured into to complete the level. A blue sandworm-type creature will pop up from below and swallow the monster whole. Monsters will chase you or your snot, but they do prefer the snot. This gives you the opportunity to direct their chase routes as you can either try to outrun them and cause them to ensnare themselves or fire an irresistible loogie into a trap and watch them meet their maker. Stealth is the order of the day, and there are plenty of ways to stay out of sight or out of reach. New elements are slowly introduced, making the game more challenging as you move forward. New monsters, like mosquitoes that can cross waterways or blue meanies that run much faster than their red cousins, become more prevalent and can team up to take you down. Warp pads, sticky loogies, long-range loogies, and more can help you to gain the edge necessary to avoid a trip down the beast’s gullet. It’s a great puzzler that rewards quick thinking, fast fingers, and perseverance.
Graphically, Gesundheit! has a brilliant children’s storybook quality that feels familiar yet completely fresh. The hand-drawn art style is fantastic, appealing to gamers of all ages and providing a level of charm and appeal that instantly makes the game stand out. Each set of levels takes place in a distinctive environment, and most levels are broken into smaller sections that require you to find alternate methods of access than simply running around the board. The animations are fluid and the level design makes for some surprisingly challenging head-scratchers. There is minimal on-screen clutter to detract from the beauty of the game’s 40 levels. The audio is also a standout aspect, providing catchy children’s tunes that are also hauntingly familiar yet we can’t seem to place them (hope Pearl Jam doesn’t mind us borrowing the phrase). The sneezing, snotting sounds are disgustingly sweet, and the screams when our friend gets consumed harden our resolve to try harder next time. The controls are where things break down just a bit, as the tap-to-move-there mechanics don’t always register properly or are too imprecise to wend your way through narrow spaces and out of harm’s way. The snot mechanic is like a slingshot, requiring you to drag from the pig toward the opposite direction that you want the snot to fly, giving you an aiming line to guide you when setting up your shot. This works well for the most part, but it can be difficult to tell when a snot ball will stick to its destination and when it will ricochet around for a bit before settling. Overall, they only caused occasional muffled cursing, but enough that we hope the devs continue to tweak them just a bit more.
Replay value is very good, as you’re likely to find more effective methods of completing levels that require less time, snag missing fruit, and conserve snot to boost your overall scores. GameCenter and OpenFeint integration allow for a global leaderboard for overall scores and a series of achievements to earn along the way. At an introductory price of $0.99 (or $2.99 for the HD version), Gesundheit! is an essential 4.5-Dimple offering that should not be passed up.