App Reviewed on: iPhone 4
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iOS games often make me consciously realize the things I subconsciously want. I didn’t know I wanted a game depicting bird-pig warfare, or one in which I played a air traffic controller working at the world’s busiest and most dangerous airport.
Now Gorilla Gondola makes me realize I have always wanted a game about a gorilla on a gondola. It turns out the gondola in this case isn’t the iconic Venetian rowing boat, so I’m left still waiting for my dream game, but gorilla on a cabin car will do for now.
After all, Gorilla Gondola does offer an interesting take on the on-rails platformer. By swiping up and down on the screen I can make the monkey jump off and stomp on his cabin car, using his momentum to catapult him ping-pong up-and-down the screen. Meanwhile, tilting the iPhone sways him left and right, and this is vital to dipping our primate friend over and under the many obstacles in his way. Timing this correctly with just the right amount of power is easy on the starter levels, but the more difficult objectives require more panache in avoiding the obstacles, taking out the enemies, and picking up the bananas along the way. Even those who take to the exercise like a, well, gorilla to a cabin car will find the campaign’s challenge evolves nicely thorough deadly environmental additions like mines and lasers. True, every veteran skier knows the best way to get a gorilla off your cabin car is to fire lasers at him.
What’s disappointing about Gorilla Gondola is the design choice to tie level unlocks to completion of objectives. These objectives aren’t just set in any level; each one is tied to a particular level and that includes levels before the immediately previous one. With each unlock I found I had to repeat a few of the previous levels once or twice despite having completed each one several times before. I’m all for tying progress to objective completion – it works really well in Tiny Wings for one – but this system makes the game feel more repetitive than it actually is and comes off as an artificial way of lengthening a game that doesn’t need to be too long anyway. It helps that the levels have a small amount of random generation, making them slightly different each time, but I still found it tough to push through.
Still, all in all the game is a decent enough debut for new British outfit Electric Pixel Factory. If repeating levels doesn’t sound too bothersome, the idea of a quirky, different on-rails platformer appeals, and the letdown of the gondola being a cabin car doesn’t seem too great then check out Gorilla Gondola.