Developer: Double Jungle S.a.S
Price: $4.99, currently on sale for $1.99
Version Reviewed: 1.1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPad 2
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I didn’t quite know what to expect going into my experience with Gua-Le-Ni. All I could gather is that I would be dealing with strange scrap-paper creatures running across the screen. I was pleasantly surprised by the gameplay once I got into it and found it to have many appealing aspects.
Gua-Le-Ni deals with the taxonomy of crazy, hybrid creatures. Using blocks at the bottom of the screen, players arrange and twist the blocks around to match the physical properties of each paper creature that scurries across the screen. I had never heard of a TI-STER before, but apparently this creature has the head of a tiger and the body of a lobster. To properly categorize this creature, players must find the “TI” block and the “STER” block and arrange them next to each other. Points are awarded with each combination completed. If a creature is allowed to walk across the screen and off the page, the game ends. Nimble fingers and a good memory are needed to really rack up a lot of points.
There are two game modes: Fiction and Non-Fiction. The Fiction mode gives players some practice and some time to memorize the blocks. Moving to the Non-Fiction mode introduces some new, more challenging aspects. Creatures not only need to be properly categorized in the Non-Fiction mode, but they also need to be fed. Each creature requires a different food, depending on if the creature is a carnivore or herbivore. The difficulty of each level goes up each time a new block is added, which means players will have to act extra quickly to classify all parts of the creature before they escape.
The allure of this game to me was its aesthetics. The creatures, although strange and creepy, are beautiful in their own respect. The graphics are gorgeous and I was very impressed by the overall look and feel of the game. The narrator of the game sounds like a cocky Englishman and adds a dash of humor to the experience.
I did notice that the controls can be a little wonky at times. To change the order of the taxonomy blocks, we are required to pinch the block using our thumb and index finger and then shift it around. This process gets a little awkward when under the pressure. My issues with the controls could be a user error, but they could also use a few adjustments.
Gua-Le-Ni is the strangest and most random game I think I have ever played. But it does have some very nice aspects that challenge both the mind and reflexes. It’s essentially a puzzle and memory game beautifully mixed together in a unique way, almost as unique as the lovable TI-STER. Taxonomy has never looked this good.