Developer: Broadsword Publishing
Price: $3.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPad

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★☆☆
Game Controls Rating: ★★★☆☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★½
Replay Value Rating: ★★★½☆

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

You don’t necessarily need to know what a kumquat is in order to enjoy smushing it (it’s a South Asian fruit that looks like an orange but smaller). At least, that’s the premise of Kumquat Attack, which finds you mashing, exploding and otherwise torturing the fruit in several clever ways. Though the game is entertaining, the bland visuals and spotty controls may fail to hold some players’ attentions.

Kumquat Attack is a physics-based challenge, requiring players to use one or more steel balls in various Rube Goldberg contraptions that end in the destruction of the kumquats. Early stages are simple, requiring players only roll the ball down a hill into the kumquat or bouncing it off a trampoline onto the unsuspecting fruit, but later stages quickly grow more complex. Some challenges may involve building scaffolds across pits or making the ball hit scissors which will in turn snip a rope and drop a weight. The overall experience feels like a rather entertaining game of Mouse Trap.

It’s a pity then that the app is about as visually impressive as the board game, with boring level design and drab colors making the whole exercise feel ho-hum. The title lacks any real character or charm, and simply slapping a pair of eyes on a piece of fruit doesn’t make the title engaging. Most of the rest of the presentation in menu designs and stars awarded for passing stages feels ripped straight out of Chillingo titles, so it’s a shame that Attack Kumquat didn’t bother to copycat the bright, detailed visuals that make those other games pop. While you may be able to get away with more boring design on the iPhone the lack of flash really stands out on Apple’s tablet.

Also troubling is the spotty control scheme, which further hamstrings the game. Multitouch is poorly implemented, with some objects struggling to ever go where you want them or set at the proper length or angle, and wonky physics causes pieces of equipment such as ropes to spin uncontrollably, which is problematic when you’re trying to attach a weight to the end.

Attack Kumquat has a very cool set of base mechanics which are, for the most part, implemented quite well. Figuring out complex methods to destroy a harmless fruit can be tons of fun, and when the game is clicking on all cylinders it’s a treat. Unfortunately, the sub-par visuals and uncooperative controls all work against the game, and all it takes is a little bit of frustration to send players scampering for another title. Still, if you can look past those faults you’ll likely have some good fun with this one.

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