Developer: Chillingo
Price: $0.99
Version: 1.0
App Reviewed on: iPad 2

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

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

Religion is just one of those things that shouldn’t be brought up in game reviews. However, Chillingo didn’t really leave us much choice when they released the new game Catch The Ark. Based on the story of Noah’s Ark, which it is worth noting can be found in Jewish, Christian, and Islamic books of scripture, the title attempts to bridge the gap between gamers and people of faith. Is this a romp worth sneaking into the synagogue, or an adventure best left outside the mosque or monastery?

In most interpretations of Noah’s quest to save the population, he was tasked with gathering two of every kind of animal. It seems that a few swift thinking and industrious species decided to build a raft, catch up with the Ark, and hitch a ride. There was only one problem with this plan: No creatures, Noah included, wants to see this happen. The result is an entertainingly endless raft ride down the rapids of destruction.

Players take control of the flotation device while helping to guide the poor creatures to safety. Unfortunately everything from alligators to octopi are standing in the way. The only recourse available is to slide right and left to avoid obstacles or line up ramp launches. Each time something is hit, one of the three rafting refuges are tossed to their demise. Hitting ramps and collecting coins help in acquiring bonus power-ups that can be used to prolong the pursuit.

The presentation somehow manages to take the depressingly helpless subject matter of inevitable death and imbue it with a cartoonish lighthearted charm. When combined with the hook of collectable coins and power-ups, as well as purchasable upgrades to the raft, Chillingo may once again landed on a surefire recipe for success. And lord your poor soul if friends start throwing around Gamecenter leaderboard challenges. Resisting the temptation of the top spot may take an effort of biblical proportions.

Despite the game’s lack of mechanics that are overly groundbreaking or compelling, Catch The Ark manages to provide a polished, family-friendly experience that is second to none. Finally gamers have an excuse to play on an iPad during Sunday School. Who can argue with that kind of logic?

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