Developer: Firestar Games
Price: $1.99
Version Reviewed: 1.3
Device Reviewed On: iPod Touch

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

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

What is it about helpless animals who can’t get from one side of the screen to another without human assistance? The formula, first popularized by Lemmings, makes another appearance in the guise of Puzzle Escape, which once again asks players to guide a helpless critter past dangers he has no business wandering into in the first place. While the game is very challenging and offers plenty of levels, there’s very little that makes it stand out from the crowd.

In Puzzle Escape, players must get a cartoon bear from the start of the stage to the final door, avoiding traps such as pits and spikes along the way. For each stage you’re given a set of power-ups such as blocks, springs or bombs which can be used to create a safe path for your furry friend. You then go through the trial-and-error process of trying to use the items at hand to beat each level. It’s the same formula we’ve been using for years, and it’s executed well enough here.

The game will likely appeal to those who are already fans of the genre, but holds limited sway for those outside it. The mechanics aren’t particularly noteworthy and the visuals don’t stand out; the game as a whole just doesn’t really manage to be all that attention-grabbing. On top of all that the touch controls can be a bit finicky at times, making it slightly difficult to place an item exactly where you want it. On the plus side, those who do get into the game and find it entertaining will be pleased at the constant updates, which always add a nice handful of challenging new levels to keep you coming back for more.

Puzzle Escape is a perfectly functional, fine little game, but it never aspires to be more. Everything about it, from the presentation to the gameplay, is mired in mediocrity, content to be just another mostly faceless app which people can pick up if they feel like it as an impulse buy. There’s no buzz around this game, and it’s not going to win any awards. In spite of all that, if platform puzzlers are your thing then this is a decent addition to your collection.

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