Version Reviewed: 1.1
Device Reviewed On: iPhone
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Game Controls Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
Prince Penny begins with a cut-scene, showing a prince and his father, the king, looking out at their kingdom. The king informs his son that his kingdom is "poor," and shortly afterward, the boy decides to set out to bring back wealth to his father's kingdom.
The story here is no more complex than this, nor is the gameplay, really. Players assume control of Prince Penny and his chariot, travelling an endless road of randomly-generated terrain and collecting as many coins as possible. The key phrase in that last sentence – randomly-generated terrain – is the unique idea at the foundation of Prince Penny. As gamers progress through the game, they'll rarely encounter the exact same stretch of land, as the game randomly generates and combines the game's environment as they play it. The overall theme – an island-esque setting featuring narrow pathways of land surrounded by ocean waters – never changes significantly, but the land itself is never pieced together in quite the same way, so the experience is always different.
Not surprisingly, the controls here are tilt-based. Prince Penny automatically runs forward, and gamers must maneuver the character along narrow pathways surrounded by water. If they fall off the pathway and into the water, it's game over. The controls work well enough, but the game is plagued by a somewhat wonky camera. When you encounter particularly sharp turns, the camera sometimes fails to follow Penny closely enough, forcing players to blindly steer. These instances often occur during dangerous stretches of land, leading to game overs that could have and should have been avoided, which is just frustrating.
Another shortcoming Prince Penny suffers from has to do with the randomly-generated terrain system. Most of the time, it works pretty well, but there are occasions where the system produces combinations of land with coins that are wholly impossible to collect. This doesn't seem to be an intentional design choice so much as a glitch, which makes it a fault that's easy enough to forgive.
Prince Penny is a charming, cute and decently entertaining experience. Unfortunately, there's not a lot of incentives to play the game, such as things to unlock, which detracts from the game's lasting appeal. That noted, it's still a good-looking, fun experience for iOS, and it's only a buck at that.