Twisted Arrows Review

Twisted Arrows Review

Jul 21, 2011

Logic games have been around forever. There hasn’t been a computer released in the last thirty years that didn’t have a brain-teasing, head-scratching, rage-inducing logic puzzler built for it, probably created by some evil masochist who hates all human life and wants it to suffer. That’s what Twisted Arrows wants to be, but unfortunately it falls just short.

The premise is simple. You have to move a ball from one point of the screen to another, using the tiles that have been laid out in front of you. Each of these tiles has a number of arrows on them, showing you the ways you can travel once you’ve landed on them. The twist is that when you land on one of those tiles, it’s going to spin round.

All of the tiles are different colors, and those colors represent the number of degrees they’ll spin once you land on them. It’s sometimes hard to keep track of which tile does what, and the game could really do with an always on-screen list that tells you, especially when one wrong move will lead to an untimely death and the single most annoying sound effect ever committed to code.

The thing you’ll notice whilst you play through Twisted Arrows is that, after the first few simple levels, it throws you straight into the deep end and expects you to be able to swim. Logic is often abandoned in favour of trial, error, and expletives, as you try and navigate an enormous maze of twisting tiles and hellish combinations.

It’s a shame, because the idea behind the game is impressive and interesting. What’s lacking is a smooth difficulty curve and a consistency between the mechanic and the player. With better designed levels, Twisted Arrows would be an excellent game, as it is, it’s a bit too confusing to earnestly recommend.

Doodle Fit Review

Doodle Fit Review

Jun 29, 2011

You know when you’re at school, and you’re learning about numbers and shapes and angles, and you’re sat there thinking, what good will this ever do me? Well, the good it will do you is that it’ll make you much better at games like Doodle Fit. And it might help if you want to be an architect, I suppose.

Doodle Fit is a pretty-looking game that tasks you with moving a selection of shapes around so they fit into another shape. That’s about it really, Doodle Fit is one of those high concept games that tells you exactly what it’s about in its title. Here are some doodled shapes, fit them into this space.

There are a plethora of other “fitting” games on the Android Market, but Doodle Fit at least tries to do something a bit different with the way it looks, all scratchy lines and hand-drawn blocks. It works as well, giving Doodle Fit a niche appearance of its very own. The controls too work better than most – the block you’re moving hovers a centimeter above where your finger presses on the screen, meaning your view is never obscured.

These little touches compliment the complexity of the game. Whilst it starts off simply enough, the difficulty level ramps up and quite soon you’ll find yourself scratching your head, holding your phone at different angles and swearing profusely at little L-shaped blocks.

Sometimes the scratchy visuals can annoy the eyes, especially after long periods of play, and the earlier levels especially are a little bit on the easy side, but Doodle Fit still manages to be a charming puzzle game, eschewing the current swathe of games that are testing reactions as well as brain powers.

Doodle Fit is a solid game, a perfect antidote to some of the more action-y games on the Market. It’s strange how much enjoyment can be found in the relatively simple act of placing shapes in the correct position. For your sake though, I really hope you paid attention at school, because things can get tough in the busy world of shape fitting, and I’d hate for you to get left behind.

Shaky Tower Review

Shaky Tower Review

Jun 28, 2011

Without the laws of physics, we’d be bouncing off the walls at remarkable angles, dropping glasses of water upwards and balancing enormous towers of balls further than the eye can see or comprehend. Even if you deny causality, you’ve got to admit that the world would be pretty rubbish without physics. Not that that actually means anything, but you get the point. Modern video games agree with this analysis, and so any game that doesn’t have realistic, or at the very least believable, physics is shunned like a pariah, thrown onto the scrap heap of immature and inaccurate nonsense. Luckily for ShakyTower, the game is chock full of all of them physics. It’s so full of physics, it may as well be physics.

ShakyTower tasks you with building a shaky tower out of smiley, anthropomorphic bricks. You have to hold your phone parallel to the ground and use the accelerometer to keep the tower balanced, or, in some cases, to knock the tower over in order to reach goals, kill your blocks or unlock secret bounties. There are also a vast swathes of other physics based puzzles and games that you get to play.

In an odd way, ShakyTower is a game designed to be played when you’re stood up, which might not be that appealing to some people. If you’re sat down, then hunching over, making sure the seat you’re sat on is flat and not moving very much all become essential parts of the game. After longer play sessions, it’s entirely possible to have warped your posture permanently whilst trying to make sure your tower doesn’t collapse into the red spaces of oblivion that signal instant death.

Spinal problems aside, ShakyTower is an impressive puzzle game. It’s not the most original idea, but it’s remarkably well implemented, and it has a cheeky sense of fun that’s most endearing. The physics could do with a little tweak here and there, but ShakyTower is an enjoyable, if sometimes uncomfortable, diversion, although its debatable whether the tower building skills you develop in game will be any use in the real world.