This week we review Cat Run, Flick Kick Football and Enviro-Bear 2010
iPhone and iPod touch games continue to come out at a ridiculously fast rate but never fear, weâ€™re here to sort the wheat from the chaff and tell you what to avoid and what to buy!
Remember Frogger? The game about the humble frog that could? Well Cat Run is like Frogger mixed with Flight Control. Itâ€™s actually a pretty good idea when you play it. Hereâ€™s the deal: cats line up on either side of a busy street. Itâ€™s your job to get them through several lanes of traffic to the other side. You do this by drawing paths, just as you would guide planes in to land in Flight Control. The objective is to get as many cats across the street as possible without getting hit. If one of your cats does get run over, itâ€™s game over.
But how fun is it? Well, the concept is good and the execution highly polished, so youâ€™ll get at least a few minutesâ€™ enjoyment out of it â€” as you can probably imagine, itâ€™s a good game to whip out on the bus. There are four different stages, with progressing levels of difficulty within those stages. As you save more cats, things get more frantic â€” the felines will start fighting one another, skunks will arrive to poison everything around them, and thereâ€™s even a mysterious be-tentacled thing lurking beneath a sewer grating on the road, waiting to snatch your cats as they cross the road.
So thereâ€™s enough variety to keep things interesting for a bit, but you might find your attention wandering pretty soon. Or hey, you might not â€” if you keep coming back to games like Flight Control, then Cat Run is probably right up your alley. Itâ€™s a polished little title with an excellent art style and funky music, and at $2.59, itâ€™s hardly going to break the bank if youâ€™re curious.
Flick Kick Football
Developed by local lads Sidhe (under their PikPok label), Flick Kick Football follows in the footsteps of Rugby and Aussie Rules versions. This time, of course, youâ€™re booting around a soccer ball â€” and while the World Cup is done and dusted, itâ€™s still worth checking out this polished little time-waster.
The premise of the game is dead simple: use your finger to flick a ball into the goal. That might actually sound too simple, but two things make Flick Kick Football stand out. The first is the quality of the controls: you can choose how long or powerful your shots are based on the length and strength of your flicking motion. And even better, you can add curve to your shot by flicking in an arc. Itâ€™s very well refined and feels completely natural.
The other impressive element is the small yet meaningful variations to the basic setup. Whether in Arcade, Bullseye or Time Attack mode, the position and angle of the ball in relation to the goal will change, ensuring no two shots are the same. In addition, opposing players (presented as humorous cardboard cutouts) will sometimes be placed in your way, forcing you to get clever. Bullseye mode also mixes things up by providing targets to hit within the goal.
Like Cat Run, this is the sort of game you can open up when you need a distraction. You might get bored playing for too long at any one time, but Flick Kick Football definitely works well in short bursts.
Okay, so this game was created for a competition at one of the better indie game sites, and now itâ€™s available on the iPhone and iPod touch. I feel like Iâ€™m missing out on a joke here or something, because itâ€™s just not very fun. Sure, it has quirkiness and humour on its side, but that doesnâ€™t make it good.
The best part of the game is the setup: youâ€™re a groggy bear behind the wheel of a car. Your goal is to drive around the wilderness catching fish, which you then must eat. Weird, right? Oh, and there are other bears in cars as well.
The graphics are wonderfully MS Paint-like, but at least theyâ€™re colourful. The gameplay, on the other hand, is where it all falls down. To do anything, you need to tap and hold on objects one at a time, and the bear will grab them. This includes the gear stick, the steering wheel, the pedals, and whatever fish come your way. But because you only have one paw free, you canâ€™t, say, accelerate and steer at the same time. Kind of annoying. Yes, thatâ€™s the point, but that doesnâ€™t make it a good point!
At least itâ€™s only $1.29! And it does have a sense of humour. So yep, thereâ€™s that.