Critter Escape, a stealth-based puzzler developed by KIZ Studios and published by Chillingo, is now available from the app store. Using mechanics similar to Spy Mouse, you must maneuver a trapped creature from start to exit without getting caught.
Critter Escape Pros:
- Presentation is polished and animations are fluid
- Soundtrack has spy movie quality
- Line-drawing/tap controls are easy to use; power-ups add to the fun
- Lots of expansive levels and star-based challenges
- GameCenter integration for achievements
Critter Escape Cons:
- Some control quirks; line-drawing mechanic could use more polish
- Isometric viewpoint causes some areas to remain hidden
- Limited replay value
There are more than 100 levels to explore, tasking you with leading the unnamed and unidentifiable main character toward the exit and one step closer to freedom. You achieve this by using line-drawing mechanics to create a pathway for the critter to follow. Patrolling guards threaten to immobilize you if they catch you, so it’s best to avoid detection. Each level has a gem hidden within, adding a fun objective to break up the monotony of making a beeline for the exit. There are also a number of power-ups to utilize, which can give you a speed boost, make you invisible for a short time, or even turn you into a hulking monster capable of crushing any foes that get in your way. Collected gems can be traded in for power-ups, too. The levels are fairly large and it’s easy to get lost or happen upon an enemy unexpectedly, given the isometric viewpoint that masks certain areas, the lack of a map, and the inability to rotate your viewpoint. After reaching the goal, you are evaluated on your ability to find the gem, as well as complete the level challenge, earning a star for each (and an automatic star for completing the level). Challenges include reaching the exit within a tight time limit or escaping without alerting any guards.
Graphically, Critter Escape has a polished presentation with a pleasing art style, smooth animations, and enticing gameplay. The soundtrack is decent, creating a spy movie type atmosphere. The controls work well, but there are some rough spots where the critter can get stuck on objects or the line wends around in lengthier lines that negatively affect your speedy escape. You can choose to tap on the screen to send your critter scurrying to the target spot, or you can drag your finger to create lines for him to follow, pausing time as you map our your route and giving you the opportunity to explore areas of the board that would normally go unseen by the critter from its current location. While they were serviceable, we couldn’t help but feel that they needed a little tightening up.
Replay value is decent if you need to pick up any missed stars, but for the most part, there isn’t much to keep you playing the same puzzles over and over. There are a few bonus levels to check out, but little else. GameCenter integration allows for 3 dozen achievements to earn. A universal app for $0.99, Critter Escape is a fun 4-Dimple app.
Critter Escape Review,