App Reviewed on: iPhone 4
Graphics / Sound Rating:
User Interface Rating:
Re-use / Replay Value Rating:
I think I lost a fair amount of childhood to Qix on the BBC Micro. In Qix I controlled a little diamond which I could navigate in straight lines across a rectangle. When I completed a closed shape by moving from side of the rectangle to another the shape got cut off. The idea was cut off a certain percentage of the rectangle to progress to the next level. Sounds simple and plain, but in practice it was fiendishly addictive and always very challenging.
Curvebot isn't quite the 3D spiritual successor to Qix, but it is certainly as addictive and challenging. In Qix the aim is to cut the 3D planes of each level until only 20% of the original flat surface is left. Taking control of a dinky little robot, I'm able to traverse around these planes by pressing touch screen buttons to move left and right. Pressing both buttons at the same time, however, sends the robot onto the plane itself, and as with Qix the portion left by the line he makes from one edge to another is cut off. Simple simple, up until energy-zapping robots, obstacles, and very awkwardly shaped planes get in the way and mix things up.
If it sounds a little complicated to describe, then in practice it's actually a simple premise to understand and learn how to excel at. The controls are straightforward and graceful, and Curvebot also does a great job at steadily introducing the new elements mentioned to keep things interesting throughout the 72 levels. Enemies steadily get better at noticing the lines you're creating and trying to cut across them and into you to stop your progress, meanwhile the increasingly awkward shapes of later levels make that simple enough premise a tough thing to apply in the latter stages. Also, Curvebot has been designed with a lot of care and attention, and this clearly comes across in the classy interface, high fidelity, and little touches of humor dotted across the game - including an absolutely excellent nod to another classic game, Pac-Man.
It's difficult to note criticisms of Curvebot, I'll admit, but it just feels like it's lacking that special something to transform it into a 5-star game. A few more of those Pac-Man moments, maybe, or a few more risks taken to stretch the cutting mechanic as far as possible might have taken the game to another level. This is nitpicking, though, and it doesn't really matter when the game is so easy to pick up, play, and enjoy, and it certainly stands out as something quite unique amongst the crowded iOS market. As such, Curvebot comes thoroughly recommended.