App Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS
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Lots of games are about surviving desperate situations. Fighting wars and saving the world are commonplace, but even the more “arcade” style titles usually involve some kind of scenario that no sane person would put themselves in. Raiding a house overrun with zombies? Tying a couple of balloons on and flapping around an arena filled with suicidal baddies and a pool of water with a carnivorous fish? Attempting to kill an immortal after fighting through his army of very large things with very sharp weapons? These concepts are all insane. The Sky is Falling certainly doesn’t buck the trend, but it’s just crazy enough to fit right in.
I don’t know how the poor little orange guy managed to find himself in such a bad spot, but he did, so it’s best to just go with it. He’s trapped in a collapsing cave while simultaneously being chased by a giant boulder. Not good. It’s the player’s job to tap the screen to get him to toss a wrench (at least I think it’s a wrench) towards the stalactites on the ceiling. A successful hit will reduce the rocky growth’s size up two three increments. The idea is to cut down all of the hanging formations before they get low enough for the orange guy to smack into them and get flattened by the boulder. It sounds complicated but the gameplay boils down to simply tapping the screen at various times.
Aside from the delightful retro aesthetic, it’s also easy to enjoy The Sky is Falling for its simplicity. Despite the gameplay being limited to a single touch, there are some nuances that factor in which can mean the difference between escape and a flattening. It all comes down to one thing: only a single wrench(?) can be thrown at a time. So players have to wait for the first one to either hit the ceiling or break through three layers of stalactite before they can toss another. It not only prevents spamming the spanners (*rimshot*), it also changes the way the game flows as the level progresses. The higher the ceiling, the longer it takes the wrench to reach something and the longer players have to wait before they can throw another one. Conversely, while a low ceiling means more “shots,” it also means a much smaller margin for error and significantly less time to work with.
Some might knock The Sky is Falling due to its extremely simple nature, but I’d consider that unfair. Simple games are great for the pick-up-and-play nature of iOS. Especially when the simple games are fun and make us reflexively try again and again since it’s so easy to “just try one more time.”
Tagged with: $0.99, arcade, arcade game, easy, old school, old school gaming, Ovine By Design, quick, retro, retro gaming, simple, The Sky is Falling