Developer: Two Lives Left
Price: $2.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0.2
Device Reviewed On: iPad 2

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

Overall Rating: ★★★★½

To say there’s nothing else like Crabitron feels like an understatement. It’s something I genuinely can’t imagine working anywhere other than through a touch screen tablet. With some of the most innovative controls I’ve used in recent years, it’s an incredibly charming title even if it does require an initial adjustment period.

crabitron11Players control a giant crab, by the name of Crabitron, as he vents his fury at humanity. You see, Crabitron is very angry that humans are still eating his crustacean brothers, and who can blame him? I’d be exempt given I don’t eat seafood, but I’m guessing Crabitron is a little too busy to take names and spare anyone.

It’s the controls of Crabitron that are most exciting. Using the benefits of multi-touch, players put two finger tips on either side of the screen in order to manipulate the crab’s claws. This is both amazing and awkward, at first. When trying to master it, a couple of problems emerge. I found it very easy to bring up the notification center or the App Store, courtesy of swipe based shortcuts. Similarly, it’s tough to remember to manipulate two crab arms at once and I started leaning towards just using one.

Fortunately, after repeated sessions, such awkwardness fades away to leave greatness. I only really had problems activating the notification center during my first session, quickly learning to adapt my movements to avoid such difficulties. For those who struggle to multi-task, there’s always the option of getting a friend to control one crab arm, with the added bonus of more fun to be gained.

crabitron5Regardless of how one adapts to the controls, the gameplay is suitably enjoyable. With an Endless style layout, players work their way through various waves of carnage. The key behind progress is to crush the numerous cars that fly past with one’s claws. It’s a satisfyingly tactile experience throughout. Crabitron doesn’t stop there, though, with a series of twists available to make things all the more interesting. Some waves involve deflecting asteroids away from the body of the crab, others re-enact an Arkanoid style level, requiring the player to bounce balls towards a series of blocks. Boss battles feature predominantly, too, always offering a challenge.

Much like with other never-ending games, Crabitron adds structure through a series of challenges and upgrades. Players are tasked with objectives such as to deflect a certain number of bullets or collect many coins. Each of these tasks is quite simple to complete, but it adds an extra element to reasons to replay. Similarly, the upgrade system boosts the player’s capabilities the more they play.

Overall, Crabitron is a very fun game to play. It’ll require a brief moment of patience for the controls to really click, but once figured out, it’s great. It’s the kind of game I’m finding myself wanting to show off to non-iOS gamers so they understand just how different the games available can be. It’s a wonderful dose of originality.

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