Saturday, November 13, 2010

Game Review - Soosiz

Soosiz - $1.99 (Appshopper Link)

Mario-style platforming games are kind of a hit or miss with the iPhone's on-screen controls. Depending on how the developer implements the buttons, it could be very bad (like Mega Man II), or very good, like the game I'm reviewing right here. For action-platforming games, reflexes are key; being able to jump at a moment's notice to avoid an enemy or obstacle is the difference between life and death. The problem with on-screen controls is that there's no physical feedback for your finger to know whether you've pressed the "right button" (read: the correct part of the screen). In the iPhone port of Mega Man II, I too often found myself pressing not the jump button, but just one or two pixels to the left or right. Yes, that's a problem.

With Soosiz, on the other hand, the developers did a great job. The jump button is big and responsive, as are the buttons to run left and right.

So you're probably wondering "So what is Soosiz? Why is its name so funny?" Well, I can't answer the second question, but I can answer the first. Soosiz is unique in that it takes the 3-D Super Mario Galaxy style gravity mechanic and removes one dimension, to give you a rather fresh side-scrolling (and rotating) experience. In this game, "down" for your character is essentially the center of mass of the platform he's currently standing on.

You play as this strange yellow circle with big feet, big eyes, and green spiky hair. If I didn't know any better, I would think he's a mutated Goomba.

The levels are set up as a collection of worlds broken down into about 6 stages each, along with two or three bonus "collect all the blue coins" stages. The goal in each normal stage is to rescue all your buddies who have been scattered across the land. Some of them grant you special powers like higher jumping and faster running, which last until that stage is complete.

The gravity mechanic alone makes it worth checking out, though if you get dizzy easily, you may want to skip this one.

Soosiz comes in four flavors: iPhone/iPod touch full version, iPhone/iPod touch Lite, iPad full version, and iPad lite. Check out the appropriate lite version to see for yourself.

Check out my Soosiz screenshots at Picasa Web Albums

Game Review - SkullPogo

Skullpogo - $1.99 (Appshopper link)

I really should have written this as a Halloween post, but I guess better late than never. Skullpogo is another simple game that you can pick up and play for a few minutes. As the name implies, you control a skeleton dude on a pogo stick, whose lot in life is to bounce forever and knock out pigs, zombies, bats, black cats, and other pesky creatures. You slide your finger across the bottom of the screen in order to move, and there are on-screen button to control the height of his bounce: low, medium, and high.

The goal, of course, is to get a high score, and in order to do that you try to get special combos. There are also powerups that will allow you to do things like take out multiple enemies at once, or slow enemies down to make it easier to catch them.

There are three different stages: Halloween, Farm, and Classic, each with a different backdrop and slightly different play modes. Skullpogo also includes Openfeint support for tracking high scores and granting Achievements for those who perform special feats.

Skullpogo is a nice game to play for a few minutes at a time, but that's not to take away from its variety. It's very unique, and a lot of fun.

Check out my Skullpogo screenshots here.