Developer: Cerasus Media
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 4S
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Ugly Animals is a game that initially doesn’t seem like it’s worth one’s attention. However, in time it slowly reveals its inner charms. In that way, it is actually a lot like its ill-favored main characters, warts and all.
When a group of the titular unfortunate creatures come across a couple of beautiful, female animals, they decide the only way they will ever find love is by showering their crushes with gifts. To do so, they must solve a series of physics-based puzzles to put each gift within a potential lover’s reach. In a way, it is a testament to how being smart can be better than looking good. It’s also a great excuse to have a character named Derpy MacDuckister. Rounding out the storybook theme are the quaint hand-drawn visuals and cute, upbeat music.
What Ugly Animals is really about though are the puzzles. Each present must be brought to a certain spot and to get it there players must properly stack it on blocks of various sizes and shapes. Things start out simple enough when the only step is to just put the present on top of one or two boxes. However, soon players will be slipping wedges into tight crevices, using one box to counterbalance the weight of another and taking advantage of the fixed metal structures found in later levels. There aren’t too many levels available at the start but the ones that are there make up for it with challenging complexity. Unfortunately, some aspects of that complexity are more frustrating than fun. Design tricks like using multiple fingers to manipulate multiple objects or moving wobbly structures into harshly rigid locations simply don’t hold up that well.
Still, while Ugly Animals may not be as elegant as a swan, it is still fun, creative, and worth giving a chance. True beauty is in the eye of the player.