Developer: One Man Left
Price: $2.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 5, iPad Mini Retina

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

Overall Rating: ★★★★½

Tilt to Live 2 wakes up in a world where the tilt-based game feels almost dead. Free-to-play Skinner boxes rule the landscape, and here’s a $2.99 game that dares to toss things back to 2010 by having us tilt to survive? Well, great gameplay is timeless, and One Man Left has made Tilt to Live 2 feel both fresh and familiar.

TiltToLive2-4The core concept of “tilting to live” is the same, but nothing else is. Visually, the game has been given a detailed and fluid overhaul. It looks and feels incredibly lively. But all the power-ups from the original have been replaced with new ones. Now, there’s a brimstone ball that can be bounced around the screen, a dual-bladed energy sword, a shield that can collect dots to destroy them, a dot disguise that makes the player briefly invulnerable, and more. This was a fantastic decision by One Man Left – what it does is that it makes the game feel new. The game is innately familiar, but the ways that the problems are approached and solved are completely different. It’s the perfect approach for a sequel; one that other developers need to consider.

Right now there’s just the Normal and Code Red modes, with more modes promised later, but the great thing is that the Normal mode is no longer worthless! It gets going just as quickly as Code Red, just in a less-difficult fashion – solving the biggest problem of the original, which was that Normal mode felt super-slow.

There are boss fights now, though they just follow the formula of “here are some tricky layouts – now go and run over the bullseyes that are laid down.” They don’t really improve the game, serving just as a flow-breaking distraction that can be frustrating because they’re so different and because they’re exempt from the new end-game bonus system. Players can earn a percentage bonus or even a revive by landing their bouncing ship in the middle of a target bulls-eye. The system is chaotic but skill-based – learning how the bounces can be timed to land in the center takes practice but it can be done. It’s still difficult, but skilled players now have a valuable tool at their disposal to get higher scores.

TiltToLive2-1To solve the aspect ratio problem that exists between iPads and iPhones, the game is designed for 16:9 aspect ratios, so playing on an iPad will use up only part of the screen. This is an acceptable compromise, since the original game went with an entirely-separate HD version for iPad. The controls for tilting are great, with custom calibration available, yes, but this is still a game that works best when played in an upright position.

Really, One Man Left just absolutely nailed Tilt to Live 2. This is an App Store classic given new life thanks to the fresh coat of paint and a new arsenal of tools to play with.


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