Developer: Nitako
Price: $0.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★★
Game Controls Rating: ★★★★½
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★½

iPhone Integration Rating: ★★★★☆
User Interface Rating: ★★★★☆

Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Rating: ★★★★½

IMG_0470First Nitako brought us the self-proclaimed “#1 hanging game” of the App Store with Rasta Monkey, which featured a Jamaican monkey on his quest for fruit and adventure. Their newest game, Eco Punk, is also a bit quirky. Scratch that; it’s extremely quirky. You take the role of a killer skateboarding bunny out to clean up the polluted streets. The resulting game scores top marks for both technical feats (awesome graphics, no bugs) and the always-elusive “fun factor,” and it’s earned a permanent place on my iPod.

In order to keep the streets clean, you’ll be skateboarding around a small intersection, picking up litter whilst dodging cars, Segway riders, and bicyclists. The controls take a few games to get used to, but after a few plays they feel like second nature. Drag your finger across the screen, and the rabbit follows; you can also swipe the screen to move quickly. The controls give you a good amount of precision once mastered. Then, you can focus on picking up the trash.

Maintaining momentum is the key to earning points. Picking up litter in quick succession creates a chain reaction of sorts: your first piece is worth one point; the second piece in a row is worth two; even if math isn’t your forte, it’s easy to see that keeping up you can easily net you a hundred points in a short amount of time if you can keep it up. If you go for a few moments without picking anything up, however, you’re back to one-point pieces of trash. Power-ups also appear occasionally. A purple orb grants you a shield, for example, so that you can skateboard straight into cars; the red-orange one gives you a gun. You’ll learn to appreciate those power-ups, too: one hit from a car, Segway rider, or bicyclist, and your punk-bunny is dead.

The core game is a lot of fun, and comes in three varieties. “Classic” is the regular mode, where you’re limited only by your ability to survive. In “Time Bend” mode, the speed of your punk rabbit controls the speed of his surroundings, so by slowing down, you also slow down time and the cars around you. Finally, “Blitz” mode is a sixty-second version of Classic mode. All of them are fun, though they require different strategies, and it’s nice to have the mix. Full OpenFeint integration means that your high scores for each mode are tracked, too. I do wish that more than one local high score for each mode was stored, though; I feel like my scores vary a lot and it would be nice to have a fuller local record.

Eco Punk doesn’t disappoint when it comes to production values. The setting is brilliantly vibrant, blocky and crisp. The music is upbeat and suits the game well, and your killer bunny’s utterances (“Son of a nipple!”) just add to Eco Punk’s personality and flair. Everything feels incredibly well thought out, and the setting goes a long way towards making Eco Punk stand out.

I really can’t recommend Eco Punk enough. It’s got a killer personality (literally), great controls, and the game itself is perfect for pick-up-and-play gaming. If you want to give it a try, you can play the online version on Gamejolt. (The controls are different, of course.) This is a game you need to get.

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