148Apps Network Post
Developer: Kiz Studios
Price: $0.99
Version: 1.0
App Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★½
User Interface Rating: ★★★★☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★☆
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

When I previewed Critter Escape! a few months ago I came away fairly impressed. However I did only spend a few minutes playing it. Now that I’ve spent much, much longer hightailing it through Welk Tower I’ve developed a clearer picture of the critter’s plight and while a few cracks in the armor have been found it’s still quite sturdy.

So one day a wild “critter” (it looks kind of like a gopher crossed with a yam and a monkey) gets captured, taken to a scientific facility where they perform horrific experiments, and becomes the subject of horrific experiments. However, during one of these tests it’s able to escape, and now must scour the complex for an exit. In practice it’s basically a maze chase game that uses a number of different control schemes (primarily a clever line-drawing mechanic), but each level has its own set of unique obstacles and challenges to overcome. Some might require players to finish without using a single power-up while others will task them with defeating every single enemy somehow. Clearing a stage earns a star, completing the challenge earns another, and finding a special red gem earns the third. Net enough stars and more zones are unlocked, as well as some bonus stages that exist purely to shower players with gems.

The critter might resemble a lump of modeling clay, but it also sports some very impressive animations and expressions during a level’s result screen. The game itself also utilizes a clever and somewhat twisted sense of humor both in its comic book style cinematics and overall personality. Each stage is small enough for on-the-go play but offers enough of a challenge to encourage repeat play in order to earn all three stars. Mixing up the challenges also keeps things fresh and the myriad of hats and other outfits that can be purchased with gems add a little bit of a personal touch. And a reason to go hunting for gems.

Truth be told I’ve had almost no problems with Critter Escape! save one. The line-drawing controls, while good at pathfinding most of the time, can occasionally get a little dodgy. It’s easy enough to readjust when a path goes astray (the action pauses while everything is traced out) but sometimes the critter won’t follow the guide. Usually resulting in an unintentional swim through toxic goo, getting hung up on a wall while a guard closes in, and so on.

Critter Escape!, even with its imperfections, is still a fun game that manages to make line-drawing feel far less by-the-numbers. It’s got style, presentation, and plenty of replayability to keep people hooked for as long as they might need the distraction.



NOT SURE IF UNIVERSAL

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