Developer: Game Collage
Price: $0.99
Version Reviewed: 1.1.1
App Reviewed on: iPhone 4S

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

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

While the basic principle is very reminiscent of the widely familiar Tom & Jerry, the developers managed to pull Axl & Tuna off without making it feel like too much of a copy. Players control the always nice, youthful robot who is enjoying his roller-coaster ride while his flappy nemesis (there, I said it) tries to end his joyful journey at every turn.

IMG_0609The gameplay is fast-paced and chaotic: players will find themselves constantly tapping or swiping up and down to avoid accidents, collect coins, jump over gaps, perform in-air spins, etc. While it is chaotic, the controls are easy to get the hang of, which makes the experience enjoyable rather than frustrating. On top of that, it does go past the recent trend of overly-difficult endless games, which usually end in less than 30 seconds. The difficulty here benefits from a far better pace, which allows players to explore several of the procedurally-generated levels before that inevitable mistake occurs.

To make things even nicer, the tracks themselves change on a daily basis, which makes coming back feel like a new and different experience every day. There’s a lot of positivity and bright colors going around, which really makes this one an enticing treat for children to explore. Animations are smooth (to say the least) and the soundtrack fits well with the game’s fundamentally lighthearted theme.

IMG_0606Axl & Tuna, at least for the time being, does not offer upgrades for the power-ups or items to purchase. The only thing coins are used for is continuing the game after a crash (through buying repairs). Those repairs, however, do feel quite overpriced. I’ve been playing the game for a while before amassing the 8000 coins required for that action, and after having that amount it feels very difficult to spend it knowing I’ll go back to zero and perhaps still won’t even manage to beat my high-score.

The bright side is that during any game the player gets a second chance by default – the first crash is forgiven, but the second one will cost. There’s a power-up that offers an extra life in the game as well, so that balances things out even more. The whole thing about not being able to upgrade power-ups may seem like a defect to some, but I prefer to just focus on beating that high score rather than chasing coins to spend on upgrades.

IMG_0611One thing that does feel like it’s missing is quickly being able to see stats like what my current high score is and how many coins I have. I was only able to see my coin count by clicking on “continue” after ending a game, at which point I am notified of how much I have and how much I need.

Ultimately, Axl & Tuna is a youthful, energetic, and well executed addition to the endless runner genre that many fans will welcome.


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