Update 7/13/10: Rafter now comes with 71 levels…awesome! There’s also an iPad version. Rafter is now an easy recommendation: a genius physics game with OpenFeint integration and 71 awesome levels. What’s not to love?
Developer: Punflay
Price: $0.99
Version Reviewed: 1.1

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
Game Controls Rating: ★★★½☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★½
iPhone Integration Rating: ★★★★☆

Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

IMG_0424Physics games are a dime a dozen in the App Store, and it’s a sad fact that many good ones simply don’t get enough attention. I’d like to draw your attention to Rafter, though, because it actually makes you think. Sure, it’s a shame that there aren’t more levels, but it’s an engrossing experience nevertheless.

The objective is simple: draw shapes in the area at the top, and manage to hit the red target. At first, you can only draw rectangles; once you hit the sixth level, you can try circles, too. While the initial levels are straightforward, you’ll soon be retrying levels over and over in hopes of coming up with a solution. A block, or a skinny plank? Can I bounce off of this board, or should I try to shove it away? The objects you draw are curiously bouncy, and eventually you learn to manipulate them to suit your needs.

While each level includes some static blocks, machines also make an appearance. Fans blow falling pieces to the side; moving pieces alternately obstruct or help you along the way. Some blocks rotate; some are fixed; others can be knocked aside if you unbalance them.

IMG_0449Points are awarded based on how long it takes and on how many shapes you need to draw. Take too long or use too many shapes, and you’ll lose the level. Thankfully, a replay button is included on the main screen to allow for easy do-overs. This scoring system is bolstered by the inclusion of OpenFeint. While it’s slow (as usual!), OpenFeint provides a key feature: global leaderboards. Given that Rafter is extremely short, much of the replay value lies in going back and attempting to find better solutions; with OpenFeint, you can make that competition global.

I really enjoyed Rafter. It’s fun, inventive, and the levels require a lot of thinking without ever making me want to slam my head into the wall. The only problem is the limited number of levels. A recent update added 10 new levels, bringing the total to 31, but that still feels too short; as soon as you get really addicted, you realize that you’re done.

If, however, you’re willing to go back and play over levels, you’ll definitely find some replay value. And regardless, I feel that the 31 levels are more than worth $0.99. Give me some DLC packs with extra levels, and I’ll be thrilled; even now, Rafter is still an excellent physics game and well worth your time and money.

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