App Reviewed on: iPad Pro
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If you've ever wondered what it'd be like if Square Enix brought out a graffiti-based GO game, ARTE Experience's Vandals is pretty just that.
It's stylish, fun, performs well, and definitely offers up a decent challenge after just a few levels. It may suffer from a couple of issues, but they don't detract much from the gameplay.
Duck the police
Vandals is a turn-based puzzler where you have to work through each level to tag a predetermined area, all while avoiding the cops, collecting information, and picking up a bonus if you can.
Its super slick and simple design is attractive, though it doesn't leave much to hide behind if anything isn't up to the task. Luckily, the levels are designed well for the most part and can stand on their own without leaning too heavily on the similar design of the GO games.
Getting from one end of the level to the exit point sounds easy enough, but there are walls, fences, and policemen standing in your way. If a policeman sees you he'll try to chase you down, so you have to use the environment to your advantage.
You can skirt around your foes by slipping through broken fences, using a whistle or chucking a bottle to distract them, hiding in bushes, ducking through sewer grates, and so on. If they come within one space of you, you're busted, son.
Drawing is more fun and free than expected. Though you can use your own tag, which you make at the beginning of the game, you can draw freehand using three different nib sizes and a small selection of colours. It's not crazily diverse, but it does the job.
It works with Apple Pencil so drawings can be hilariously detailed if you've got the right kit. There's also an interesting aspect where paint drips down the surface if you've used too much or concentrated in one area. Of course, you can share these with your pals online.
Tag, you're 'It'
You've got six cities to paint your way through and a bunch of levels in each, so getting your money's worth isn't much of an issue. Though there is replayability to be had – to collect three stars in each level or pick up information you've missed – you'd have to really want to get that perfect score
The game sorely misses a re-do button at times, too. This could be personal preference, but realising you've messed up by one step only to have to restart the level from the beginning is a bit of a chore after a while. If you were given the chance to go back by one move per level, it might make things a little smoother, especially for those attempting to complete it 100%.
Vandals changes up the GO formula enough to make things interesting and to make it so the game stands on its own two feet. Being able to revisit your graffiti masterpieces in your Black Book is a nice touch and it's easy to revisit older levels.
Whatever you feel about graffiti in real life, this stealth-based puzzler is a ton of fun and is well worth having on your device for the spare moments in your day. Just try and steer away from drawing anything phallic in public.