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Developer: Atari
Price: $0.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 4

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

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

Don’t get too excited Atari fans, Circus Atari may have the same name as the beloved arcade game of the 1970s but the resemblances very nearly stop there.

While Circus at the arcade was like Breakout but with a clown twist, Circus Atari is more like Doodle Jump with balloons.

Players take the role of a pretty fearless clown who gets launched from a cannon and must be guided ever higher to gain more points. Popping balloons by flying into them hurls the clown higher and helps direct it into coins which can be used to buy bonus nets. These nets can then be used to fling the clown back upwards once he’s lost momentum. Barrels and springboards further add to the ability to fly upwards even faster, bypassing the need for balloons at times.

It’s a pretty simple game mechanic with the sole control method being tilt based. Tilting is fairly responsive although I found once I unlocked an achievement, things got very laggy for a while. In a game so focused on speed and quick reactions, this immediately puts the player at a disadvantage.

Circus Atari is reasonably fun for a time as it’s satisfying to pop a path to the best line of coins or the trickle of power-ups that are offered. It does suffer from a lack of focus and direction though. Some challenges or objectives could have helped a lot here as, without them, things become a little pointless.

Ironically, if Circus Atari had been like the original arcade game, this wouldn’t have been the case. The arcade game offered a point to proceedings unlike here.

As a free to play game, the lack of structure isn’t such a big problem, fortunately, but it does make the urge to buy extra nets with real money less so. Circus Atari is a game that players may find themselves enjoying for a brief while but it’s doubtful that Doodle Jump and Tiny Wings will lose their position as the most enjoyable endless runners of this sort.

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