Developer: Triorbis Entertainment
Price: $1.99
Version Reviewed: VERSION
App Reviewed on: iPhone 5

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★½☆
User Interface Rating: ★★★½☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★☆
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

Physics-based puzzle games are among the toughest offerings in the gaming kingdom. They’re also extremely popular, as they test players’ reflexes and the strength of their brain-meat in equal measure. But in order for the contest to be truly fair, the game’s controls need to be flawless.

Therein lies the problem with Albert’s Adventure: Energy, a physics-based puzzler from Triorbis Entertainment. Its controls are less than perfect, leading to a slew of failures that aren’t the player’s fault (honest!). It’s a noticeable dark spot on a game that’s otherwise interesting, creative, and boasts a funky soundtrack.

albert_04The star of Albert’s Adventure: Energy is Albert, a wild-haired scientist. Albert’s built a floating machine that’s capable of collecting a mysterious force called “energy” – but the collection of this valuable resource is an extremely dangerous undertaking. See, energy comes in two colors: Red and blue. Albert’s machine is capable of flipping colors, and if he collects blue energy while his ship is red, or vice-versa, he blows up. That’s no good. Albert’s machine floats freely through each level, and it’s up to the player to guide him safely to the end of each run after collecting as many points as possible. Collected points are then tallied up to earn stars. There are hazards to contend with aside from the colored energy pellets, including moving walls and walls in general. Hitting a grey wall will merely cause the player to lose points, whereas hitting a colored wall earns points, provided Albert’s machine is the same color. If Albert hits a wall of the opposite color, he’s dead.

Albert can be steered by tapping or swiping, and once the player has the hang of this mechanic it works fairly well. The real issue comes with switching the machine’s colors, which is done via a yin-yang button in the corner of the screen. It’s rather small, and easy to miss at crucial moments. The result? Many unnecessary deaths. Moreover, the change from red to blue seems to lag for a crucial fraction of a second. The sound for the transformation occurs, but the actual change does not. What’s worse, missing often results in the game thinking the player is trying to lay down a new path for Albert, so he goes careening in the opposite direction. It’s enough to make a saint throw their phone up into a ceiling fan.

albert_03But with a bit of fine-tuning, Albert’s Adventure: Energy has the potential to become a great physics-based puzzler. The color-switching mechanic is addictive enough to keep the player coming back for more, and the soundtrack is amazing. The option to adjust game speed is also welcome; especially since the player earns a fresh set of stars depending on the speed they’re playing at.

Like a certain Einstein, Albert’s Adventure: Energy has a spark that requires some refining before it can become a household name.

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