Dec 30, 2011
So here’s a unique combo: line drawing combined with an endless runner. Seal Force puts players in control of the eponymous team of seals, who are out to defeat the evil Krillian and his Krill Army. In what can be described as a glaring error on Krill’s part, his armies are susceptible to damage by the three members of Seal Force by matching up the color of each seal to the enemy unit. The enemies keep coming leftward, and the player must draw paths to attack the enemies coming at them. Powerups can be picked up, such as one that allows all 3 seals to attack at once (normally, only one seal can be out attacking at a time), or gives the seals more powerful attacks. Golden clamshells can be collected, which can be spent on upgrades.
The game takes some getting used to; particularly, learning how to manage the timing of the seal’s attacks, and how to draw the lines for where the enemies will be, not where they are when the seal is sent out. It takes time, but the game gets more engaging as it goes on. It is free to play, using the Jetpack Joyride (a game which really should be on Android at this point) model of low cost of entry, but then selling currency in the game. There are objectives which help provide a sense of progression, as well as bonus money.
Now, I have no problem with the free to play model at its heart, and think it’s a great model for Android, where users are more skittish to spend money. But selling an unlimited money IAP for over $100? That seems a bit ridiculous. The pace feels really slow at first, and sessions do take several minutes to play. The game’s tablet support is rather iffy – the game seems to contain low-resolution art assets and runs at a slower frame rate on the Xoom; it lacks the ability to shift it into “Zoom to fill screen” mode as it likely was meant to run native on tablets.
Seal Force is a better take on implementing line drawing/path management than Spy Mouse did; the on-the-fly planning that is necessary is what makes it work well. There’s those moments where I feel like I have a master plan with the seals, that I know when and where I’m going to use each one as new hazards pop up, and that’s when I know that this is a pretty darn good game, that little spark of genius.