Developer: Synoptical Studios
Price: $1.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0.1

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★☆☆
Game Controls Rating: ★★★★☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★☆☆
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★★☆☆

Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆

Aerox calmly (very calmly) stepped into the marble rolling game field a while ago and just begged to be played. My goal in every marble game is to feel a sense of rolling freedom, the kind of freedom I felt the first time I had one of those extended spins that you would get in the first Sonic (I know, it wasn’t even a marble game). I want controlled craziness, but I have to be open to new things.

So instead of crazy in any sense of the word, Aerox presents a zen-like atmosphere where your ball calmly rolls around and jumps over various obstacles. Each level takes anywhere from 1 to around 3-4 minutes (if you get it dead on), with only a handful of real obstacles in each level that will keep you from easily winning. The game does get hard though, and by about level 10 you will probably be ready to throw something, typical of the marble game genre.

The goal in each level is to finish in the shortest time possible (restarts after falls are included in the time), but there is no real rush, as everything is calm. You just fall off the ledge, and the game, in no real hurry, starts you back at the beginning. Beating a level with any sense of urgency feels like winning first place in a Tai Chi speed competition. Not very rewarding to say the least.

My biggest issue with the game (other than the game itself) is that it doesn’t seem to be optimized at all for the iPhone 4. For one, the graphics are definitely not up to spec, and a game like this is definitely in need of some epic graphics. The ball itself looks quite nice, but the ground is obviously pixelated, making my retinas clamor for their matching display graphics.

Problem two was with the sensitivity of the marble roll. With my iPhone 4, I almost have to tilt the screen to an unplayable degree to get the ball moving at any sort of reasonable speed. I don’t want to sound petty, but if I can’t comfortably see the game I am playing, I don’t really choose to play anymore. The App Store is jam packed with games that I can see quite well.

While the iPhone 4 optimization will hopefully be fixed in the next update or two, I still get the sense that the game is missing something. I want to play a 3D marble game for that sense of open air freedom, and I just don’t feel that here. Some people will really dig the peaceful, controlled pace of Aerox, but I want more. I want something unique. I just don’t, and I hate to say this, think that Aerox is all that fun.

Posted in: Games, iPhone Apps and Games, Reviews

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