App Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
Style can go a long way to selling a game. Especially in a venue such as the App Store where garnering attention sometimes rests solely on having a cool icon or some sweet screen shots. Style can be a double-edged sword, however. Some games can spend too much energy on looks and end up with lackluster gameplay, others might fall short in the visuals department and fail to get noticed. Or in Naught's case, the style (great looking though it may be) can end up dragging down the overall experience a bit.
Naught is a quasi-physics-based platformer about a bipedal cat. When I say "quasi," I mean that it's less about the physics of the world and how it affects objects for puzzle reasons, and more about using gravity to move the shadowy cartoon kitty around the level. Tilting the device (finger sliding and virtual buttons are also supported control options) will adjust gravity accordingly, allowing the ceiling to become the new floor with a simple turn. Since the titular feline doesn't actually do anything (no jumping, etc...), players will have to use this mechanic carefully in order to get him up and over obstacles and hazards.
When calibrated correctly, the tilt controls work very nicely. With enough finesse it's even possible to keep Naught moving through one of the many narrow passageways without his
feet paws ever touching the ground. The same finesse will also be required when attempting to grab all three of the jewels hidden throughout a stage, as some of them can be floating in rather precarious places. The other two control options work fairly well, too, but they don't offer the same degree of precision as the accelerometer.
While Naught is a very stylish-looking game, what with all the sharp black and white contrasts, the visuals start to become more of a hindrance in later levels. What I mean is, everything (everything) is black and white. Hazards, items, platforms and all. The reason this creates a problem is because nothing is immediately distinct enough to say "Hi there! I'll kill you if you touch me!" except maybe the spike pits. Making it through a large portion of a level only to die from walking on what looks like something that can be walked on can be irritating. Especially if a manual checkpoint hasn't been placed anywhere nearby.
Naught is still an enjoyable game, albeit somewhat short at five levels. It's just a bit frustrating at times. A little more emphasis on what's lethal would go a long way towards alleviating that problem, but anyone with the patience to endure it will probably also enjoy shelling out the dollar to unlock the other fifteen stages.