Rinth Island, an engaging puzzler developed by Buzz Monkey and published by Chillingo, is now available from the app store. Utilizing clever level designs and multiple objectives for each course, Rinth Island is a delicious slice of puzzling pie.
Rinth Island Pros:
- Great visual themes and clever puzzle design that utilizes the cylindrical towers well
- Adventurous soundtrack enhances the gameplay
- Alternative joypad control option works well enough to supplant the default controls
- Multiple game modes with alternative objectives for each of the 60 levels
- Crystal and GameCenter integration for leaderboards and achievements to earn
Rinth Island Cons:
- Default touch controls are not user-friendly
- Undo option only available via IAP
- No pan or pinch-zooming for planning your approach
When a huge storm disrupts life in Landingport, it’s up to youngsters Gimble and Libby to help restore order to their hometown. You can choose to play as either kid, though this selection appears to be inconsequential, as neither has any advantage over the other. Through the course of play, you can also spruce them up with new outfits and accessories, though this also appears to be cosmetic and most are IAP-bound. The goal of each level is to find your way to the desired object by negotiating the strange, cylindrical towers upon which you find yourself. Early puzzles start you off with ladders, ledges, and crates, slowly introducing new objects like explosives, coconuts, switches, cannons, and more. Lacking an ability to jump or to manipulate objects in any way other than pushing, you’ll often find that a single wrong move can wipe out a great deal of progress and force you to restart and rethink your approach. Unfortunately, a much-needed undo button is also hidden behind a pay wall. Still, we’ve had a blast working out the puzzles and seeing how all of the objects work in conjunction with one another.
Despite reusing the same elements over and over, the structure and tone of the puzzles varies greatly. You’ll even notice portions of a puzzle that seem to be unnecessary or irrelevant when completing the levels in Adventure mode, only to learn of their significance when you replay the exact same towers in Crystal, Steps, or Timed modes. Crystal adds a number of gems to the puzzle that must be collected before obtaining the target object. Steps mode counts the number of steps that you take to reach the target item, ending your effort if you take more than the allotted amount (hint: dropping off of ledges rather than walking down ladders makes a big difference). Timed mode requires you to find the target item before a countdown timer runs out. All three are only accessible after beating the puzzle in Adventure mode.
Graphically, the puzzles can be quite devious and the gaming elements are easy to distinguish. The varied themes help to keep the look fresh and bring additional visual delights to the game. The camera is pulled pretty far back, so identifying which child you are using or which costumes they are wearing is not easy or compelling enough to encourage the use of the included IAP. Animations stuttered a bit, but mostly at the level’s beginning and not enough to turn us off. The soundtrack is decent, with a pirate-type tune enhancing the adventurous feel of the game. There are two control methods: touch and joypad. Try as we might, we just could not get used to the touch option, as our character movements were extremely unreliable. We’d try to move left, and he’d move right. We’d try to move in another direction, and the character wouldn’t budge. Steps and Timed modes would have been a nightmare using this method. Fortunately, there is a 4-direction joypad that works much better, despite muddying up the visuals with obnoxious white buttons that take up a good deal of space. Separate on-screen buttons become active to allow you to detonate explosives or flip switches as necessary. The lack of some type of pan or zoom option was also a major disappointment that contributed to several restarts by preventing us from seeing where a ledge drop would land us.
Replay value is quite good, given the 60 levels (which is more like 240 if you include the alternative ways to play them) and the great in-game level editor that allows you to create and share puzzles with other gamers. Crystal and GameCenter allow for global leaderboards and a bunch of achievements to earn. We did experience some crashing issues that were a little disconcerting, though we hope this will get ironed out soon. A universal app for $0.99, Rinth Island is an enjoyable and challenging 4-Dimple puzzler.
Rinth Island Review,