Developer: Dioxis Mining
Price: $0.99
Version: 1.1
App Reviewed on: iPhone 5

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
User Interface Rating: ★★★½☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★☆
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

whirlthesquirrel04Whirl is a squirrel with a problem. He likes Things. I mean he really likes Things. He likes them so much that he’s willing to try and outrun his “‘nenemies” in a hazardous mad-dash in order to recover them. I’ll admit that I don’t really think squirrels are synonymous with speed, but I also didn’t think they could be synonymous with a game like Uniracers. And yet Whirl the Squirrel manages to evoke both quite well.

After Whirl’s ‘nenemies hire a tornado to wreck up his house and scatter his Things (just so that they can steal them), he has to scramble to recover them. Each of Whirl the Squirrel‘s levels is focused on nabbing flowers and moving at a blistering pace. Some involve racing ‘nenemies to the finish line while others require players to collect a specific number of the flowers that are scattered around each stage, but speed is always essential. Quick reflexes help a lot, too. Many of the courses are littered with hazards and dead-ends, so being able to react to the warnings as they fly by is essential to making good time.

whirlthesquirrel10Whirl the Squirrel is full of weird looking characters and a goofy (but still cute) story. The real star, though, is the gameplay. It’s not exactly the same as jumping off ramps and doing stunts with a unicycle while simultaneously racing a bunch of other unicycles, but it certainly evokes a similar feeling. Although Whirl has to worry about a lot more obstacles and hazards which I think is actually more challenging. There’s also a decent mix in level variety with some focused on horizontal movement and timing jumps, and others that are much more vertical and reward accuracy over momentum.

It can be tough to get Whirl to do what I wanted at times, though. For the most part he’s very responsive, but every so often my thumb would edge slightly out of range of the movement buttons and I’d lose precious seconds while trying to get him to move again. I’ve also had similar problems with the jump button occasionally not registering my taps; most likely because my thumb was close to it, but not close enough.

Whirl the Squirrel draws inspiration from a rather unexpected source, but it does it well enough that the whole bizarre “super-fast squirrel” thing doesn’t really matter. Sure the controls are slightly off at times but they aren’t so bad as to derail the gameplay. It’s actually a lot of fun to play, aside from a few control hiccups.


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