Developer: Adult Swim
Version Reviewed: 1.0.1
Device Reviewed On: iPad, iPhone 3G

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

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

Some games are serious affairs, hoping to bring a gravitas to its proceedings by taking their story and concept seriously. Then there are games that eschew those values entirely. Robot Unicorn Attack has its origins in a game on the [adult swim] website that somehow managed to get over 25 million plays, putting it squarely in the latter category. As [adult swim] has had several other of their popular Flash games brought to the iPhone, Robot Unicorn Attack was a shoe-in to be their next conversion.

For the uninitiated, Robot Unicorn Attack is an endless platformer similar to Canabalt, where you play as the titular Robot Unicorn, which is running endlessly for reasons that are never quite explained. You collect points the longer you last without falling to your doom or crashing into a wall, and you get bonus points by picking up faeries and smashing through giant stars. You have the ability to double jump, and can hold down on the jump button longer to jump longer and higher, and a dash button that smashes through stars, and allows you to do another jump afterwards, which can be used to chain together some long jumping sequences. All the while, you’re in a pink candy-coated landscape, with dolphins jumping past you, and the overly melodramatic mid-90′s synthpop song “Always” by Erasure playing to help set an over the top mood.

Robot Unicorn Attack certainly does have its tongue planted firmly in its cheek, and it certainly is about as ridiculous as it gets, being a game about a robot unicorn set to “Always” by Erasure. But the game’s use of chaining together jumps and dashes to get around makes the game be more than just a ridiculous idea, it’s an actual game, and it can be very addictive, trying to top your high scores.

However, Robot Unicorn Attack’s style eventually becomes more annoying than charming, and you’ll be playing the game on mute before long. As well, the game suffers from the iPhone’s small resolution screen, causing many situations where blind leaps of faith are required that aren’t present in the Flash original. As well, the game lacks any kind of leaderboard support, only offering the ability to post your scores to Facebook, which is broken as of this version. As well, the game does not work properly on iOS4 yet.

Fans of the Flash game and of endless platformers looking for a new fix will likely find some satisfaction from this game and its unique mechanics, although it eventually loses its amusement factor from its concept alone and frustration with the necessary leaps of faith will soon set in.

Posted in: Games, iPhone Apps and Games, Reviews

Tagged with: , , , ,