Developer: Bit Ate Bit
Price: $1.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0.0
App Reviewed on: iPhone 5

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

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

It hasn’t taken very long for the They Need To Be Fed franchise to hit the trilogy mark. In less than four years the series’ fun hybrid of puzzles and platforming has endeared itself to a legion of fans. This third time out provides a slight evolution on the existing formula, while not overextending and slaughtering the proverbial golden goose. But can it still manage to innovate while playing it so safe?

image_7They Need To Be Fed 3 continues to build upon are the gravity defying shenanigans that players have come to know and love. Jumping from surface-to-surface once again has a very gratifying feel. The designers have found a way to take a mechanic that has remained relatively unchanged from the original incarnation while making the third outing feel just as special as the first. Granted there’s no reinventing the wheel going on, but when a mechanic is this refined there’s no need to tinker with the recipe.

Much like the first two games, the controls are still streamlined to a jump button that’s complimented by controls to navigate the on-screen avatar either left or right. Irritatingly, the trend of switching the direction of rotation when switching planets also continues to exist. Yes, the reason for the choice somewhat makes sense on an academic level due to the inverting x-axis when switching planets, but it still might seem a bit counter-intuitive to newcomers. That said, it will only take a few failures before the “beginner mistake” is a thing of the past.

image_6This is where the series would normally draw the line and call it a day, but They Need To Be Fed 3 is a whole different beast altogether. Included this time around is an adventure mode akin to the gameplay that veteran gamers would refer to as “Metroidvania.” It features an open map that players explore to collect items and unlock other portions of the map. There are quite a few instances of backtracking and platforming challenges to be found, but it is all in the name of expanding the edges of the grid. Ultimately this is a very welcome addition to the series, and though the mode isn’t as big as some may want it’s essentially more than what most would have been expecting, based off of the prior two installments.

As much as They Need To Be Fed 3 maintains that status quo, the introduction of the new adventure mode is an extremely welcome twist. Unfortunately, though there is plenty to like about the newest title, there isn’t really much to win over people who weren’t already supporters of the brand. This is sad, especially given that the mechanics and challenging level design have never been better. Cliché as it might sound, if you liked the previous They Need To Be Fed titles or similar style games this will certainly continue to tickle your fancy, but most others will find this to be more of the same.


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