Developer: ROSTLAUB
Price: $0.99
Version: 1.0
App Reviewed on: iPhone 5

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

Overall Rating: ★★★★★

Every now and then a game comes along that offers a real breath of fresh air: something truly unique. JOOL is that game. It’s a 2D arcade platformer with basic controls, but puts forth a very unique style. Whether starting with the good bird or his evil alter ego, players will need to use both characters to survive the infinite level design in order to earn the highest possible score.

After choosing to start the game as good or evil, players are immediately thrust into the unique world. The character is constantly moving through the game, only allowing players to tap the screen to jump; a double tap yields a double jump. Additionally, after collecting a certain amount of “trips”, the player has the option to add a flip to their capabilities. Flips let the player turn their device upside down to change characters. When this happens, the good character becomes the evil one, and mostly travels through what appears to be a hell-like environment. Flips are needed in order to avoid falling to one’s death.

If a flip is not available and a character falls, a death animation is played. These animations are cartoonish, yet may be disturbing to younger players. It should be noted that the age suggestion for this game is twelve and older. The iTunes description offers several reason as to why this is. The game really does seem innocent until the death animations are played. Older players may find them entertaining, so additional animations may be purchased for 99 cents.

Players must also collect a variety of items to gain points. The good character collects items such as fruit, teeth, and eggs. The evil character collects items such as coffee, pills, and wine. There are also special items to collect such as “The Force” that will attract all items to the character, even if they are far from reach.

The graphics, music, and sound effects in JOOL are absolutely top-notch. Combined, they give the game a very unique feel, unlike any other arcade platformer I’ve played before. Additionally, there is only one small suggestion I need to make. There should be some popup tips or a tutorial to explain that, in addition to points from items, there are also “trips” that may be collected that essentially buy special powers for use during the game. Players must tap on symbols at the top and bottom of the screen to activate these capabilities. However, they must discover this themselves, as there is no clear explanation on how to do it.

This is by far one of the best games I’ve played on the iPhone. It’s fun, addicting, and simple to play. I strongly recommend checking this one out.

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