Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPad 1
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Aiko Island HD is a new physics puzzler that combines elements from many other games into one. The basic goal of the game is to try and eliminate all of the red Aiko, while keeping all of the blue Aiko safe. This involves tapping on objects, whether they be unprotected red Aiko, or destructible objects in the levels themselves. Players try to complete a level in under a certain time, and in under a certain number of moves. Later levels introduce Aiko that will only fall in the direction that that they are facing, as well as interactive objects like movable platforms, cannons, and TNT boxes.
The level progression in Aiko Island HD is multi-linear, harkening back to the days of Super Mario World, where level paths diverge and converge at different points. While some levels require a certain number of cookies to unlock, this does mean that the game can be progressed through at the player's discretion instead of in a purely linear sequence like in most of these games. So, what happens if a level's particularly frustating? Just play another one! As well, the game's method for getting 3 cookies is both concrete and well-defined, but each of the bonus objectives can be done in separate attempts. The gameplay is very diverse as well, introducing new elements into each level. There are over 120 levels in the initial release, the puzzles vary wildly from one level to another, and it's always interesting to see what's next. The game has multiple save slots, as well.
However, Aiko Island HD is hard to define because of its disparate gameplay styles. It's a jack of all trades; it does many things well, but never really feels like it does anything particularly special. It feels like elements of Tiki Totems, Gravity Lab, Rolando, and other iOS games were mish-mashed into one. Aiko Island HD is not bad; it just has this tendency to feel like it's composed primarily of homage and slight iteration.
Despite the familiar elements that comprise the game, there's still a lot to like there. The game does have tons of content, varying gameplay, and some interesting level design. It's not wholly original, but it's a fun, lengthy trip.