Developer: Craneballs Studios
Price: $1.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0.2

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

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

IMG_0664There’s nothing better than sadistically placing you character in harm’s way, right? At least, that’s the premise of “ragdoll” games like Superfall. Craneball Studios’ latest game places you in control of a floppy sewn-up doll and then tests your skills at keeping him alive. Unfortunately, Superfall feels a bit too simple, and while it’s a nice shot at a casual game, Superfall couldn’t quite keep me hooked.

The premise is simple. Your ragdoll starts each level by falling from the top of the screen, and your goal is to make it as far down as possible. Randomly generated obstacles populate the screen with dangerous hazards; each time you strike something, your ragdoll loses a bit of life. You control your doll by tilting, but if you need to move more slowly, you can also “warp” time in order to slow both your movement and that of the obstacles. If your ragdoll gets too beat up or gets stuck in a trap, it’s game over! Items scattered through the level can provide good things (health! experience points!) or might light your doll on fire. Ouch. The obstacles are pretty good—mines, gears, and all manner of rotating and rolling things. Check the video to see them in their full glory.

So, yes, Superfall is fun at first. But eventually it gets repetitive. I felt like there simply wasn’t enough skill involved—the obstacles are too random, so much of the time your survival is based on what the game throws at you. Creating a sense of “one-more-time” requires the player to be competing against their last try, not against the whims of the game; unfortunately, Superfall does the latter.

Superfall does offer incentives for coming back. Each time you play, you earn experience points based on things like how far you fell. Those points can then be spent in the Shop in exchange for new ragdolls, which not only look pretty cool but also have different stats. The unlockable ragdolls are key to the game’s replay value. There are also OpenFeint achievements, but most of them take so long to acquire and focus so much on repetition over skill that you’d have to be achievement-obsessed to want them all.

The one flawless point here is the graphics. They’re bright, colorful, and whimsical; add that to the sound effects, and the game looks like it could be a surefire hit. But while graphics can catch someone’s attention initially, they can’t compensate for a lack of old-fashioned fun.

Superfall is still a decent game; if you’re looking for a minute’s diversion, it’s fine. But there just isn’t enough substance, and it’s too repetitive. I highly recommend trying the lite version first, because as it is, I just couldn’t fall in love with Superfall. It’s a close call…but something’s still missing from this ragdoll physics game.

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