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Quick Look: Go Usagi for iPhone

Rating 4.00 out of 5
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Go Usagi brings us a variation of a nice little puzzle type we haven’t seen in a while: the “redirect to the exit” style puzzle.  The game features a bunch of cute little rabbits that are trying to escape, and often a group of mean (but somewhat cute anyway) aliens that are trying to stop them.  Everybody is in constant motion, and it’s your job to route the rabbits to the exit on each level while keeping the aliens away.  It’ll take keen observation and proper planning, but I’m sure you’re up to the task.

Redroom, Redroom!

Apparently a certain breed of rabbits called Usagi make a delicacy known as Mochi that aliens happen to crave.  The aliens traveled to Earth seeking the Mochi and will do everything they can, including killing the Usagi, to get it.  You don’t want to let that happen, so you need to help the rabbits escape the clutches of the nasty aliens.  It’s not just the aliens that will try and stop you either.  The levels are littered with walls that get in your way.  Then there are the lava pits that don’t treat the bunnies very well.  And don’t get me started on the switches – red to lower red blocks, and green to lower green blocks… but they raise the opposite color blocks as well…

There’s one other issue with this whole setup.  No one can seem to sit still!  The rabbits and aliens are constantly moving, and only stop when they run into objects or find the exit.  If an alien catches a rabbit, the level’s over.  If an alien gets to the exit before all the rabbits, the level is over.  And, if a rabbit falls into some lava the level is over.  The weird thing is that rabbits will always turn right when they hit a wall, and aliens will always turn left.  Thankfully you can use this to your advantage.

I'm so blue...

On each level you get several tiles with arrows on them.  All you have to do is drag a tile from the toolbox on the right side of the screen to where you want to place it in the level.  If it doesn’t work for you, drag it someplace else or drag it back to the toolbox.  I don’t know how well it would work, but one nice option might be the ability to double tap to put an arrow tile back.  Anyway, once you’ve placed all the arrows you want to use, tap Go and see what happens.  Thankfully you can replay a level as many times as you need to, and the game leaves the arrows in place between attempts, so you always have some point of reference to start from.

The key to this game is observation.  Before long you’ll find yourself watching how the level plays out before you’ve even placed your first arrow.  Then, even when you know the arrows don’t work where you’ve got them, you’ll still watch the same setup 3 or 4 times to see where you might adjust it.  If you just want to complete the game you might not need to be so thorough, but if you want to attempt to earn 3 stars on each level you’ll probably be doing this a lot.  You can complete a level with no stars if you just want to unlock the next level, but stars are based on the number of arrows used – the less arrows, the more stars you can earn.  For the average gamer you’ll find yourself replaying a level quite a few times to earn 3 stars.

Title Screen

The graphics are decent, if nothing overly exciting.  The rabbits and aliens look good, and the background for the most part is okay, but the pseudo-3D nature of the walls sometimes makes it hard to figure out where all the tiles are in crowded levels.  Also, since the exit is black and so are the tops of walls, actually deciding which tile is the exit can be tricky on occasion.  I do really like the title screen, which makes me wish there were a few cut scenes in the game.  There really isn’t a whole lot in the way of sound effects, and the music is enjoyable, though I’m not sure it fits with the game.  However, I’m willing to let that slide as I’ve become quite the fan of Kevin MacLeod’s work.

Overall this is a nice little puzzle game.  For hardcore puzzlers it might be a bit easy, especially since it only has 36 levels, but for the average gamer I think you’ll get plenty of play time out of it.  The game could use a bit more pizzazz, but being as it’s a puzzle game that doesn’t bother me too much.  It’s nice to play something that’s not a physics puzzler or some match 3 variant.  I’d definitely suggest giving this a try if you’re in the market for something a little different.

Final Verdict: Recommended
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