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Quick Look: Desertic for iPhone

Rating 4.00 out of 5
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When I first saw the screen shots for this game I was concerned that it would be a bit “odd”.  Turns out I was right.  Fortunately, that’s mostly a good thing.  Desertic is actually fairly entertaining, and I can pretty much guarantee that while the mechanics might not be wholly new, content-wise you’ve probably not played anything like it on your iPhone.  My main issue with the game is that even on easy it seems to be quite challenging to do the most basic task, which is to get water to your flowers.  Still, if you have quick reactions you’ll probably do just fine in this game.

Water The Cactus Too

Water The Cactus Too

In Desertic you’re in charge of making sure the flowers in the desert can soak up what little drops of rain fall during the blistering heat.  You’ll have 3 flowers at a time, and you must make them grow until they get big enough to fly away in the wind.  A cloud will travel across the top of the screen and periodically release a drop of rain.  You must swipe that drop in order to guide it towards the top of one of the flowers.  It has to hit the top of the flower, so you need to account for the fact that the flowers will always be gently swaying.  There’s also the wind factor to take into consideration.

Your task won’t be nearly this easy, however.  Locusts will try and destroy your flowers.  You must tap them to destroy them, or double-tap a rain drop close enough to them to dispose of them.  There are also camels that fly by and occasionally lose their wings (told you this was weird).  If you tap a falling camel it will get its wings back and fly away, otherwise it will crush whatever flower it hits and cause it to shrink somewhat.  As the sun gets hotter it can cause the flowers to shrink as well.  The heat also makes the locusts angrier and can cause the lone cactus in the background to dry up and explode.  If you double-tap a rain drop by the cactus it can rehydrate the cactus somewhat.

Flowers Under Glass

Flowers Under Glass

Conceptually it’s actually a nifty little game.  The main issue that I have is that unless I’m missing something, it’s awfully hard to steer the rain drops.  I could probably learn to live with that if there wasn’t so much going on, even in the easy level.  Sometimes I find myself smashing bugs and tapping camels so much that I’m completely neglecting the rain drops.  Also, up until the last couple of games I played, it was quite difficult to stop the camels from falling.  Overall it just seems like the controls aren’t sensitive enough where they need to be and are too sensitive in other places.  Or, I could just be really bad at the game.  Still, I don’t think it’s me.

The visuals are pretty good, though something doesn’t seem to gel quite right between everything.  Even so, the camels and locusts look nice, and the flowers are just right as they wither and grow.  There are even nice little touches like steam that rises from the flower pedals if they get too hot.  One thing that does look a bit unusual to me (if such a thing applies to this game) is that the camels almost appear to be swimming.  The sound effects are just as torn between sensible and crazy.  The locusts sound good, but like all infestations get annoying after a while.  The camels sound like humans screaming when they fall.  If you successfully use a large drop of water you get some applause.  In some respects this feels like a Monty Python sketch.  There is some music, and it does a really good job blending into the background, though I’m not really sure it’s worth listening to on its own.

Even The Nights Are Deadly

Even The Nights Are Deadly

So by now I’m not quite sure if I’ve enticed you or scared you off a bit.  If you’re looking for something entertaining and a bit different, I’d say Desertic is a good choice for you.  Keep in mind that you need some pretty quick reactions after a while, however, so if you prefer slow, casual games this probably will intimidate you within a few levels.  The visuals are decent, and it’s almost worth it just to hear the falling camels scream once or twice.  I wouldn’t put this at the top of my list, but it certainly would be worth giving a try.

Final Verdict: Recommended
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