Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 3GS
Graphics / Sound Rating:
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I never suspected that I'd find myself playing a causal iPhone game where the subject matter is an oil spill in the deepest depths of the Gulf. Some may say it's too soon, while others may think it's just plain bad taste – but for the sake of this review I'm going to take Big Pollution for what it is, a fun little game that the developers say is to “commemorate the 1 year anniversary of the Gulf Oil Spill disaster.“
The basic idea of the game is to guide a cute-looking, propeller powered cap to the bottom of the sea in a bid stop an already catastrophic oil leak from becoming more of a catastrophe. Controls are simple enough for anybody to pick up immediately and start playing, with only three inputs: tilting left or right moves the cap side to side and tilting upward puts on the brakes, though the brakes only last so long before the plummet continues. This is where my only real complaint comes in, as tilting the device away from myself to slow down means I can no longer see what's happening on-screen -- when sitting upright I found myself having to tilt myself alongside the device.
Anyhow, as the descent begins all kinds of obstacles will have to be navigated – all of which are illustrated in the fun colourful art style that surrounds the whole game – submarines, cap-eating squid and whales are just a few. A score is awarded based on how deep the cap gets before crashing into one of these, with bonus points for rescuing little yellow fish from bubbles of oil on the way. The difficulty increases steadily with depth as the sea darkens and oil starts to cloud vision.
Players who ultimately want to cap the leak will be very pleased with the checkpoint system that allows continuation from the previous section reached, while high-score hunters will want to start over each time to maximize their potential number of points – and it's certainly nice to see the game catering to different breeds of iOS gamers with such a simple option.
All in all, Big Pollution is just that: a simple fun game, with gameplay and styling that will likely appeal to a wide variety of users. It's easy to start playing with enough depth and difficulty to offer fairly significant replay value. Replay value that will be used playing over and over trying to get just a few feet deeper than before. “One more try?” Go on then.