Developer: Olivier Archer
Price: $1.99
Version: 1.0
App Reviewed on: iPhone 4S

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

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

Sphoxie is an odd platform game, but that’s a good thing. While it has a similar gameplay style like Marble Blast, it stands out on its own with its clever storyline and well-polished 3D pixelated design.

Sphoxie is all about an adorable little blue spiked ball that has been sucked through a portal. When Sphoxie lands, he notices that there are cubes everywhere. Fortunately, he thinks the yellow and red ones are delicious. Gamers help navigate the blue ball from the start of a level to the exit all while eating cubes along the way in order to help him get out of the strange world.

Each level is timed, so the main objective is to eat the cubes as quickly as possible. The levels have a maze-like design and are suspended in the air, which makes maneuvering the little fellow challenging. Falling off the path may send Sphoxie to his death, but players may also fall onto a different path or back to the beginning of a level. Successfully making it to the end of a level earns players up to six stars. Earning these stars is based on the time it takes to complete the level and the number of cubes that gamers eat. If earning stars doesn’t seem enticing enough, gamers can also climb Game Center leaderboards and earn achievements.

Sphoxie requires a lot of rolling, and there are two ways to achieve this. Gamers can slide their finger in the direction they want the little dude to move. The farther away they slide from his position, the faster the blue ball will move. The other is a virtual joystick that players can maneuver with their thumb. They both are based on the concept of using one finger to play.

These controls are what hold Sphoxie back from being a superior title. I didn’t like playing with either of them. Sliding my finger proved to be difficult as it obstructed my field of vision on the iPhone, and each time my finger moved off the screen the ball came to a complete stop. I thought maybe the virtual joystick would be better, but for some reason it is fixed to almost the center of the screen and there is no way to move it. I’m hoping the developer issues a fix for the controls soon.

Sphoxie has potential, especially once the controls issue is fixed. The pixelated 3D graphics give it a polished retro look, and there’s also plenty of challenging content. The platformer comes with 24 diverse levels and 3 boss fights packed into 3 beautifully designed worlds. All of these elements help make it shine, but I’d wait for an update before shelling out the cash for this two dollar title.

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