Krashlander, a physics-based skiing puzzler with a unique control mechanic, has been released by Farseer Games and is now available from the app store. With a pretty minimalistic design, head-scratching controls, and terrific physics, Krashlander requires a little time and effort to appreciate the experience within.
- Stylish graphics with a Windows 8 feel
- Soundtrack features howling winds rather than musical accompaniment
- Controls use unique 8-position dial to contort skier’s body
- Levels are very short
- Learning curve is steep
- Little replay value at launch
At launch, Krashlander provides 20 levels of gameplay, requiring you to direct your Krashlander to take out the evil robot invaders by launching himself at the enemies. Levels are relatively short, offering dips and hills where you can build speed as you prepare to mount your attack against the stationary baddies. Instead of a d-pad and jump/spin buttons, Krashlander provides an 8-way dial on the screen’s bottom right side where you slide your thumb to the various positions that you’d like your character to exhibit. These include crouching, standing tall, and leaning at various degrees. Using this scheme, you affect the positioning of your character to spin, flip, and leap within the environments to position himself to impact the robots and wipe them out once and for all. There is definitely a learning curve with these controls, but once you get the hang of how each position alters the skier’s trajectory, it becomes a lot of fun. There really aren’t any bells or whistles to speak of, which really puts the focus on learning the controls and getting used to the game’s framework. You’ll likely need to run the same level over and over before figuring out how to control your skier for maximum effect, getting farther and closer with each run, while learning what not to do along the way.
The art style is very cool, with single-color backdrops that make the black-and-white of the ground and snow stand out. Your skier is also viewed in silhouette, and watching his body contort as he goes is enjoyable. The sense of speed isn’t that great, and the build up to the meat of each run can seem to take forever at times. The physics are good, requiring contact and not a specific amount of force to take out the robots. Often times, a loose ski will do the trick. The menus have a Windows 8 feel to them, which is an interesting option for an iOS game. The soundtrack uses ambient wind howls rather than any type of musical accompaniment. The controls are the make-or-break feature that will likely have some gamers cheering, but many groaning. We were a little skeptical at first, but they are growing on us.
Replay value isn’t that great right now, as there are no points or timers, nor is there GameCenter integration of any kind. Completing each level on your first run is considered “perfection.” The short initial gameplay may also be a knock against the game, but we applaud the incorporation of a new input method and hope to see updates and added content in the future. A universal app for $0.99, Krashlander is a stylish 4-Dimple offering.