I vaguely remember the first time I played a variation of the game where you are a square and your sole job is to dodge all the other squares in an area for as long as you can. It was fun for a little while, but it didn’t take long before you realized the pointless nature of the game. If you could embrace the simplicity you’d have a good time with the game, otherwise you’d fall by the wayside like I did. Thankfully developers started to get smart and they realized that people don’t want to just dodge – they want to destroy. I’m not sure that I’ve seen a better example of that philosophy so far in a “dodge ‘em all” game than in Tilt To Live from One Man Left. I got the chance to preview this game before release, and the release version is even better than my preview build, which is just plain awesome!
In Tilt To Live you control a small white ship – or a triangle with flames coming out of it, depending on how you want to look at things. The little area you call home is being overrun by viscous red dots, and your sole purpose is to avoid them as long as you can before being overcome. Well, okay, that’s not really true. Your job is to take as many of them down with you as you possibly can. To do that you will be provided with randomly generated pickups that unleash weapons of mass destruction upon the unsuspecting dots. Maybe the U.S. military should have looked here first. The down side is that weapons get activated the moment you collide with them. The plus side is that they are a whole lot of fun to use!
So what are these weapons I speak of? The base arsenal comes in three flavors: pink, yellow and red. The pink weapon is some kind of burst that can do a whole lot of damage. Unfortunately it takes a couple of seconds to charge once activated, and it must be aimed. Just make sure you don’t turn the wrong way at the last moment. Next are the guided “missiles” which take out a few bad guys and sound like insane fireworks. Finally you have the little nuclear explosion that disintegrates anything that comes into contact with the cloud. This is great to get rid of a lot of dots in close range, but not effective for much else. The first unlockable is an ice weapon, which again has limited effectiveness except for close range, but it looks way cool. Keep in mind that frozen dots are NOT dead dots, however. Just a friendly tip from your less than expert triangle flier. There are other nifty gadgets to be unleashed as well, which I’d report on if I could actually unlock them, but I’m not very good at the game (I got to use some of them in the preview build, but my mind forgets easily).
The game is simple to control. You tilt the device. For those that haven’t caught on yet, that’s where the title Tilt To Live comes from. You tilt… to live. Pretty creative, huh? I will say that I found their calibration menu, “Assume The Position”, somewhat amusing the first time I saw it. Why? I don’t really know. I guess I’m just easily amused. Whatever the case, you have default positions of “standard”, “top-down” and “sleepy”, and of course you can self-calibrate if you like. And please, get your minds out of the gutter. Before I leave the gameplay section I’d like to briefly mention the achievement system as well. Normally I don’t necessarily care about such things, unless there’s nothing else in the game that interests me. However, I find the achievements in Tilt To Live quite humorous. It doesn’t hurt that several of those achievements are unlocking new weapons as well, which makes it all worth it.
To say the graphics are simple does the game a disservice. I mean sure the villains are red dots. Your space ship looks like the top view of a paper airplane with a little flame coming out of it. But all the effects are so cool. I dare you not to be impressed the first time you unleash the ice weapon. When a bunch of dots get together to form a large red arrow that points at you – pure Tom & Jerry. Let’s not forget the swirling green backdrop either. You rebels from the 60’s will appreciate that. The sound effects are pretty decent as well, which is often not the case for more casual games like this. I especially like the sounds associated with the missile and ice weapons. The music steals the show as far as audio is concerned, though. I think I said it in my preview, but I’ll say it again anyway. The music reminds me of a blend of The Mask and Ratatouille, with just a hint of Danny Elfman thrown in. It’s only one song, but it never gets old. I suppose it could just be that I die rather quickly, though.
If you only by one “dodge ‘em all” game this year, make it Tilt To Live. If you plan on buying more than one, make sure this is one of the ones you buy. If you weren’t planning on buying any, you should really reevaluate your purchasing system and buy this one. Did I mention you should buy this? Anyway, I’m not going to restate the reasons why here – you can reread the rest of the review for that. I’m just going to go back to playing now.