Developer: Tack
Price: Free
Version Reviewed: 1.01
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 5

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★☆☆
Playtime: Rating: ★★★½☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆

Adrift-4Adrift is the poster child of one of my fundamental beliefs when it comes to gaming: if the game doesn’t control well, it’s not going to be a whole lot of fun to play. There’s a reason why I never got far in Resident Evil 4: if a game’s input is frustrating me, I don’t want to play it. Such is the curse of Adrift.

The game takes place on 3 of the 6 faces of a cube, positioned isometrically.. The goal is to connect the differently-colored star square with each other by coloring in connecting squares of the same color. The entire cube need not necessarily be colored in, but it will often be necessary, as convoluted paths sometimes have to be used in order to get all the lines to connect. Squares that allow two colors to intersect also come in to play, but most of the complexity comes from the grids that grow much larger as puzzles get more complex with more colors.

Adrift‘s appealing style is hard to peg down, but it’s somewhat similar to Wonderputt. There’s a lot of pastel colors used, and the isometric cube view works very well. It is a very nice-looking game, and nothing that I’m about to say can take that away from it. Plus, it hands out 45 levels for free, with an additional pack available via IAP. It’s not a bad deal at all.

Adrift-8While I play this game and struggle with the controls, I feel like an infomercial actor: there’s got to be a better way! Sadly, Billy Mays isn’t coming to show me that better way. It’s just way too easy to be drawing a path and then suddenly, you’ve gone off-path and mucked up the whole thing. This is especially a problem on the smaller iPhone screen, and when the cube’s grids get tiny? Good luck. Why this game isn’t on iPad is, well, I have no explanation for it. Errors from the controls aren’t permanent, but it’s just frustrating to deal with. The fact that it keeps happening because there’s no real way to see where I’m drawing makes me wish for a better control scheme.

The worst part is that the frustrating controls also poison the game’s enjoyment: success is more of a relief that I haven’t failed rather than a success of solving the puzzle. Because of this, I never really felt like I ever enjoyed the game. Its puzzles and concept are mechanically sound, but interrfacing with it is definitely not.

Adrift left me feeling just that way: lost to wonder why such an otherwise-appealing game is so frustrating. It’s a darn shame, that’s what it is.

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