App Reviewed on: iPhone 4
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The shoot-em-up, the oldest genre in gaming, has seen and done it all. Yet A Little Turbulence proves that it hasn't, because up until now no-one had thought of taking away the shooting and replacing it with clouds.
In A Little Turbulence I play as a little cloud, dragging him across a top-down, monochrome sky. If I drag him (it's a he-cloud) into other clouds, his mass increases; the bigger he gets, the stronger he becomes. In fact, his mass and subsequent fluffy strength determines if he can take out oncoming birds, planes, and even Zeppelins that make up a very hostile sky for a cloud with otherwise peaceful aspirations. But sometimes, he has to let the birds and the planes know who was here first - especially if it earns points.
If this heroic cloud isn't strong enough, however, then whatever piece of air traffic heading his way will be bordered in glowing red, and the glowing red very much indicates danger. Getting hit by stronger airborne objects reduces his mass, and once his mass is all down to 0 he's an ex-cloud, and it's game over. Now if that isn't a cloud-em-up then I don't know what is.
And as cloud-em-ups go it's the best one I've ever played. Joking aside, it's a decent, fun enough game. The presentation has a nostalgic Game Boy appeal that complements a clever twist on gaming's most established genre. The power-ups spice things up, especially when they're bouncing around with hordes of mass-reducing traffic flying down the screen. Meanwhile, the occasionally-appearing Rage Mode - a temporary high-speed period of invincibility - is always satisfying. There's nothing quite like taking out Zeppelins with a breakneck cumulus.
Yet for all that it does right, A Little Turbulence does lose its novelty quite quickly. Maybe there needs to be a little more beyond power-ups and the Rage Mode to give it some depth, but after a few goes it felt like I'd seen all that the game had to give, and several more goes later I wasn't proven wrong. Maybe the developer's intention was to keep the game simple. If so, then fair enough, but I think A Little Turbulence could have offered much more than just a little turbulence to my work schedule; there's a time-draining, dangerously addictive game hiding somewhere beneath this ultimately fleeting but nonetheless strong and enjoyable distraction.
Not that it really matters, though. For 99 cents you owe it to yourself to at least try the world's first cloud-em-up and find out what it's like to take out a Zeppelin with a piece of fluff.