As a reviewer, you get sent quite a few games. Although this might sound like nirvana for a lot of gamers, you do have to sift through a lot of dirt to discover the gold. I get sent iOS games so often, and they're so rarely worth talking about, that I can't help but have muted expectations when yet another rolls in. In fact, after loading this one, I handed the iPad to my teenage son to have play with while I got onto reviewing a bunch of other stuff.
Five days later, there's no sign of either my son or the iPad. Hoping he was hard at work studying, I soon discovered it was not a spurt of educational conscience but rather the lure of Cling! ($4.19, from First5 Games.) So I asked it him how it was. Any parent of a teenage son will know that trying to illicit any form of communication is difficult at the best of times, so I was stunned to hear the words “it's good.” Naturally, I took the iPad from him immediately and pointed instead to the growing pile of homework - as any responsible parent would.
Good parenting complete, I got stuck into the game myself and yes, it is good! I believe
there is a formula for making good games on mobile devices. First off, they need to be cute. They should also be based on a simple concept, able to be played in small chunks, and deliver enough challenge to make you want to come back for more. Cling! has all this, and more.
A popular toy in my day was this spider-like thing that you could throw against a window and it would slowly sort of crawl / flop / wobble / generally jelly its way down to the bottom. In those days it was unique, and a marvel of scientific invention. Cling! pays homage to this, but unlike the toy it is actually a lot of fun.
The premise of the game is that you need to guide a toy out of a vending machine. The catch here being that the toy is less "toy" and more "alien vehicle", complete with a cute looking dude called Edgar. Your job is to navigate Edgar around the vending machine, in the hopes of him gaining freedom.
The base concept is that you need to move Edgar across a peg board, from point A to point B - while at the same time evading gravity (nasty gravity!) This is done by moving your finger across the screen, so Edgar can follow along. There's the game then. Cute creature, move him across a peg board from one point to another; simple!
Did I forget to mention the bad pegs, the large gaps with no pegs, wicked corners to climb around, pick ups for extra points, and gravity? Technically, I did mention gravity already, but it's so important I thought I'd mention it twice. The more levels you open up, of course, the more challenging and varied they become. Did I mention the walls that kill you? Or the pegs that can push you? I should also mention the 'Gumdrop Store,' where you can redeem earned points or pay for points to spend on cool stuff like funny hats. Funny hats are cool!
The graphics are cartoon like, cute, and colorful, so the game has good eye-catching appeal. There's catchy music to play along with, and the controls are relatively easy to use - but the real kicker is that it is so dang absorbing. I am not sure if it is about wanting the little guy to succeed, or just how quick it is to play a level (either fail or succeed); whatever it is, First5 certainly have the formula right, and like the teenager said, it's a good game!
First5's website suggests that they're committed to creating games that capture your interest in five seconds (hence the name) and will then deliver five lifetimes of enjoyment. I'm not sure about the latter part, but they certainly achieved the former.
Cling! is currently available as a universal app for iOS (iPad, iPod Touch, and iPhone - version 4.3+), and there's talk it may also make it's way to Android at a later date.