App Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
When the evil Krillian hatches a diabolical scheme to poison the world's oceans, a crack-team of special operatives is dispatched to quell the threat and take him down. Thwarting evil is just another part of their day-to-day. They are the elite of the elite. They are the one's to call when the other one's to call just won't do. They are the Seal Force.
Part line-drawing (a-la Flight Control), part endless runner (Canabalt, etc...), Seal Force puts players in control of three out of the daring foursome as they chase after the no good brine shrimp and plow through his army of whale feed. Each seal is assigned a specific color and they can only take down the krill that match, although some power-ups allow them to temporarily decimate everything regardless of hue. As the team chases after the maniacal marine creature players have to trace a path for them to follow in order to remove the krill threat before they reach the left side of the screen. The rub is that they can only send out one seal at a time, which requires some serious quick thinking lest they get caught with their figurative pants down.
I love how the Saturday morning theme is carried so well throughout the entire game. Power-ups (missile launchers, riot suits, etc...) are accompanied by flashy effects, Krillian will toss corny villainous taunts at the do-gooders on occasion and the action-packed theme song never stops playing. I also enjoyed the incremental progress, with completed "missions" (take out 30 krill in one run, go 20m without grabbing any cash, etc...) unlocking checkpoints so new runs don't have to start from the very beginning. Shells, which work as cash, can be used to buy permanent upgrades for the seals and are earned at a steady but respectable pace. Players won't unlock everything super-fast, but it never feels hopeless or like purchasing shells is a necessity.
The only issue I really came across is that Seal Force can get really tough. Even after upgrading a lot of stuff it's easy to get overwhelmed and get "krilled" within a minute or two. Thanks to the very nature of the game these failures still lead to progress, but each game can become a little daunting after a few checkpoints are unlocked.
As someone who grew up idolizing fictitious cartoon characters each weekend, such as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, I was instantly drawn to Seal Force. It plays to that particular audience incredibly well. However, it's more than just a nostalgia trip. It's also a clever mash-up of two popular iOS genres that, surprise surprise, work quite well together.