App Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS
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When a game attempts to mash-up elements from other titles and genres, the results tend to go one of two ways. It can be a jack-of-all-trades, master of none, providing players with several options to mess around with but never quite meeting or exceeding similar mechanics found in more focused releases. Or it can somehow pull it off and leave everyone completely befuddled. not to mention thoroughly entertained. Vanessa Saint-Pierre Delacroix sits somewhere in the middle of these two extremes: better than "okay," but still lacking in a few areas. Not that this makes it any easier to actually stop playing, mind.
Poor little Vanessa is too eccentric and brilliant for her own good. She's constantly bullied by her classmates due to her peculiar nature, thus choosing to keep to herself most of the time. When an ancient and mysterious puzzle box is accidentally activated and sucks the entire city inside of itself, she'll have to put her smarts (and her tolerance for jerks) to the ultimate test in order to solve the unsolvable and put things right. In practice it's like an odd combination of box-pushing, gravity flipping puzzles and platforming.
It takes a little getting used to, but once everything started to click I found it near impossible to put Vanessa Saint-Pierre Delacroix down. Players will have to guide the unwilling heroine to each level's exit, navigating around inter-connected rooms on the outside of a six-sided cube. It's easier to understand by looking at the screens, below. Levels ramp-up in complexity at a steady pace, and new elements such as wall-climbing enemies and special red blocks (needed to clear blue obstructions) are introduced constantly.
It's unfortunate that the controls can feel a little stiff, however. Flipping rooms has a bit of a lag to it which can sometimes result in rotating more or less than intended. Often with unpleasant results. Similarly, being unable to flip while jumping (much less moving in any way) feels like a missed opportunity. My biggest gripe, though, is the rating system. Basically, it makes no sense. I've cleared a level using below the allotted number of flips while going over the time limit and gotten the best rank. I've done it on another level and gotten the worst. The same has happened when I've beaten a stage with time to spare but going over on flips. Like I said, it makes no sense.
Yet, while the controls can be a little fussy and the rating system seems totally nonsensical, I still can't seem to tear myself away. It's always "Just one more level," or "Just one more try." I can't explain it, but I suppose I don't really need to. It's simply a fun and very addicting iOS game.