Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPod touch 4G
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Burn It All seems familiar at first, but as you dig into it, you find something more unique than you might expect, and a game peppered with brilliant game elements that kept me coming back long after I had completed it. It might immediately seem like a clone of Burn the Rope, what with the similar ideas of rope burning as a gameplay mechanic, but the similarities end there. You drag your flame around the levels, with your goal being to burn every flammable object in the level, from rope to wood to enemy bats. Soon, faster and slower burning rope types are introduced. Then you're given blue flames that can ignite from anywhere on a rope, not just on its endpoints, and can also burn wood are introduced. There's then green flames that can cut through multiple objects. After all these elements are introduced, the game throws one final loop at you, literally. A time loop is introduced, where you play through a puzzle as one flame, then when time is up, you go to the next flame, and the actions of the first flame happen as you play with the next flame. Your goal is to complete the levels as quickly as possible to try to collect up to 3 gems.
The game also perfectly layers its gameplay concepts as you go through it - as you play the first 3 worlds, the first few levels in each introduce you to new elements before eventually just letting you loose at the challenges the game sets forth, before the fourth world just throws the ultimate challenge at you. But what makes this game special is the combination of both action and puzzle elements. It's not just enough to figure out the proper plan, or to be able to skillfully navigate the puzzles - you have to be able to do both. The game nails this blend perfectly, and it makes for an engaging and addictive experience. The game's elements get more complex, but the game itself remains simple, never requiring you to do more than just move the flame around the levels. Oh, and the game is a universal app, so iPad owners can get in on the fun as well.
The controls are the only sticky part of the game - the controls work with a 1:1 offset, that sometimes are awkward when you need to reposition your finger, but this is really just a minor, and largely unavoidable complaint. The initial release to the App Store doesn't support the Retina Display on the iPod touch 4th generation, although this is a minor oversight that will be fixed, according to the developers. The game does support OpenFeint and Game Center, although you have to enable them manually from the options menu, there's no prompt when you launch the app for the first time, as is the norm for most OpenFeint games. The benefit to this choice is that you can enable only one of the two services separately if you want.
Burn It All is one of my favorite games this year - even after completing all 100 of the levels (with a 5th world with a brand new gameplay mechanic coming soon), I still found myself going back to try and improve my scores. This game is an absolute must-have for both casual and core iOS game fans.