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Comprehensive Reviews

Random Reviews: The Crawl Space Games Edition

Rating 4.00 out of 5
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On the App Store they’re listed as Elevate Games, but on the splash screen of each of their products it says Crawl Space Games.  Whoever they really are, I’ve been a fan since Knife Toss.  If you want to know how to make a top notch casual game, just check their collection.  Globs is their fourth iPhone game, and each one has been fun.  Not only that, but they’re all from completely different genres, showing that the developers don’t need to put all their eggs in one basket.  For this edition of Random Reviews I’ll be taking a look at their latest two offerings, Float and Globs.  For my thoughts on their other games, check out Knife Toss and Zombies Ala Mode.  No matter which one you pick, if you like the style of game play then their interpretation of the genre should be enjoyable for you.

Globs

Globs is apparently a port of an online game, which obviously I have not played.  If the iPhone version of the game does the online one any justice, however, that must be a pretty slick game.  From the moment you load up Globs you’ll be jamming to some pretty awesome tunes.  There are two game play modes and the main menu, each of which has its own theme.  In some games it’s hard to get just one song.  The main sound effect is the globs merging together, and while it can get tedious sometimes it still sounds pretty cool.  The visuals are simple and sweet.  I like watching the board shift as globs merge together.  The main animation otherwise is the time bar on Time mode and a tube on the side that temporarily fills up with whatever color you select.

All Mixed Up

All Mixed Up

So how’s the game play?  Much like the graphics, it’s simple and sweet.  In fact, I’m not sure I’ve played a game quite like it before.  You start off with a 6 x 6 grid, and eventually work your way up to a 14 x 14 playing field.  Each square in the grid is filled with a glob of color, and if adjacent squares contain the same color then the globs are connected.  At the bottom of the screen are 6 circles, one for each color.  Using those colors, your task is to transform the entire multicolored grid into a single color.  When you select a color it will shoot up into the tube on the left and change the color of the glob that starts in the upper left corner of the grid.  Any squares adjacent to this glob that share the new color you’ve selected will merge with the glob.

Sounds pretty simple, doesn’t it?  The truth is that in some ways it is.  Sure there is a limited number of moves available to you, and in time mode you have a timer to beat as well, but the reality is that it will probably take quite a number of levels before you can’t complete one, if that even happens.  The real trick, however, is how efficiently you can complete the levels.  In classic mode you’re merely trying to minimize the number of moves you make, but in time mode you have to weigh less moves versus less time spent making those moves.  Of course this is not only important for your own sake, but for how you rank on the OpenFeint leaderboards as well.  There are no achivements in Globs, but I’m not really sure what kind of achievements would seem worthwhile anyway.

I'm So Blue

I'm So Blue

This is what a casual game should be like.  The concept and mechanics are simple enough that it is accessible to anyone, and the goals of simply completing the game versus maximizing your score make it perfect for both casual and more dedicated players at the same time.  The slick visuals and good music round out the package nicely, making Globs a definite keeper for me.

Final Verdict: Highly Recommended

App Store Link

Float

Cross-platform Mobile App Development Showcase

Let’s face it: who among you, even though you won’t admit it, hasn’t picked up a rogue balloon when no one was looking and batted it around a bit.  I don’t care how old you are, there’s something irresistible about the simple fun that activity provides.  That child like urge is what Float relies on, and it succeeds quite while.  Not to mention the fact you don’t have to worry about accidentally popping your kid’s balloon!

Hot Potato

Hot Potato

Generally speaking, Float is about tapping one or more balloons to keep them afloat.  This thing has so many game modes, however, that there should be something for almost anyone to enjoy.  Normal mode has you keeping balloons afloat for a certain number of seconds per level, allowing you to get better scores if you let the balloons fall below a certain level before tapping them and by hitting multiple balloons of the same color in a row.  Limbo gives you two lines, and you have to tap them between the two lines to keep the game going.  True to its name, the top line will keep getting lower as you play.  In Danger mode you must prevent the balloon from hitting any of the spiked platforms as it continually rises.  One poke and you’re done.  All together there are 9 different game play modes, and each one provides at least a slightly different experience.

Control is “simply” a matter of tapping the balloon.  The key lies in where you tap the balloon.  Tapping slightly above or below the balloon will cause it to travel a ways opposite of where you tapped, whereas tapping it in the center will give you finer control.  My big issue is that the game doesn’t always feel responsive to my tapping.  This is especially true if there are a number of balloons on the screen, though it never seems like there should be enough to cause problems.

Danger

Danger

The visuals are simple but elegant.  The backgrounds look like prints from kids’ wallpaper, and the balloons look like balloons.  I suppose for flash they could have made some balloon animals, but this isn’t really the type of game that needs flash.  Sound effects are decent enough, consisting of things like the balloons blowing up, a gust of wind coming through, or the inevitable popping of one or more balloons.  The music is quite enjoyable, and fits the tone of the game.  Best of all, there is a theme for each game play mode.  Take note, casual game developers!

The controls get to be frustrating at times.  Still, Float has so much to offer that I’m mostly willing to look past that.  Float is the electronic embodiment of simple childhood fun, and we all need that once in a while.  Plus, while it’s not unheard of, Float is one of the few games where you actually get to play with the title on the splash screen (which happens to be made of balloons).  What more could you ask for?

Final Verdict: Recommended


App Store Link

So there you have it – two prime candidates for wonderful additions to your casual game collection.  And if you haven’t checked them out yet, I recommend Knife Toss and Zombies Ala Mode as well.  Let’s encourage Crawl Space Games to keep on making quality casual games.

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