The Act, a Disneyesque adventure developed by React Entertainment and published by Chillingo, is now available from the app store. With its charming boy-meets-girl story and graphics that you might expect to see on the big screen, The Act’s biggest pitfall may just be that it’s over too soon.
The Act Pros:
- Beautiful animation and engaging storyline
- Soundtrack is outstanding; speech replaced with music that conveys emotion and humor
- Swipe controls are simple to use; lack of buttons preserves aesthetic
The Act Cons:
- Full story is just too short, leaving us wanting much more
- Controls are unclear, requiring too much trial-and-error
- No social gaming network integration and very little difficulty
You take on the role of Edgar, a less-than-debonair chap who washes windows for a living, looks after his simpleton brother, and dreams of one day finding a woman with whom he can share long walks on the beach. When his brother stumbles into a mix-up that could result in a brain transplant, Edgar must save the day. Complicating the matter is the attractive nurse that Edgar spies along the way. Balancing his brother’s crisis with the need to satisfy his own libido, the catalyst for a slapstick adventure presents itself. Your intervention comes in the form of swipe gestures that alter Edgar’s behavior along a continuum. Unclear control thresholds and the difficulty of reading body language in cartoon drawings makes for a somewhat difficult experience that doesn’t quite resonate as well as we’d hoped. Inappropriate actions in various situations can force you into a Groundhog Day scenario where you must replay portions of your interactions again and again until you get it right. There isn’t much risk, and the only detriment to misplaying comes in the form of an end game score that reflects the number of redos you required. The absence of social gaming network integration leaves you little reason to play again and again to improve your score, though the game is short enough that it wouldn’t be too time-consuming if you wanted to go that route.
Graphically, this is certainly one of the better looking titles you’ll find, with animation of the highest caliber and the kind of storyline that make kids films so timeless. The characters are engaging, and there are times that you almost want the story to continue without having to pause for your input. The lack of on-screen sliders or buttons is appreciated for aesthetics, but determining which direction to swipe and how much/how hard to swipe is confusing. It’s not clear how much movement is necessary to nudge Edgar too far, so there is a good deal of trial-and-error. Cues are often taken from other characters, though you will get hints after a number of failures. Still, it’s a somewhat frustrating mechanic that fails to mesh with the overall feel of the game. The soundtrack retains the high-quality feel of the graphics, supplanting any speech with musical numbers that express emotion and plot as well as any script could. Replay value is low, as your eventual score simply doesn’t hold water and the experience doesn’t change upon repeated play. A universal app for $2.99, The Act is a clever attempt at a new concept that only manages a 3.5-Dimple score.
The Act Review,