Every now and then you'll see an app that really makes you do a double-take. ROBOT 99 is one of those apps, both visually and in its gameplay.
ROBOT 99 is simple. Robots live up in the sky, in clouds (seriously) and every now and then, they lose their footing and fall toward the ground. What's the only thing that can save them? Fingers! Your fingers, your kid's fingers, your friend's fingers! As many fingers as you can fit on the screen!
The controls are spot on simple right from the get go. To save a robot, simply touch it and its parachute will deploy, carrying it safely to the ground below. Once it touches the ground, it will set its jets in motion and fly back up into the sky where it belongs and reward you with points. You have 3 robot "lives" to get as many points as possible.
Sounds simple, right? Well, although it's simple, it gets crazy very quickly. Multiple robots are on the screen very quickly and they continue to appear one after the other. So you've got all these ROBOTS around, now you need to get some points. Tapping rapidly on a ROBOT will build up a point multiplier. You can also drag a ROBOT to the "POWERZONIA" section (a bar that runs across the screen) which will give you lots of extra points, but also give you a massive speed boost, firing your ROBOT at super speeds back up in the sky, but you have to be careful throughout this, as it's easy to make ROBOTS bounce into each other and cause them to fall to their doom.
Now here is what makes ROBOT 99 special and very different. You can go through this whole chaotic experience with the entire family. I spent almost an hour sitting beside my daughters playing on my iPad, fingers flying trying to save these poor ROBOTS. Within minutes, we were all laughing hysterically. It was really a magical, albeit crazy, experience to share.
And it is a beautiful experience, too. The design, hand crafted by the developer, is bright, gorgeous and detailed. There are 99 unique ROBOT designs, so you'll never see the same ROBOT twice. It is also designed for the Retina display on the iPhone 4, but the iPad is no slouch, it's stunning on both.
Now ROBOT 99 isn't perfect, there are a few marks against it. The biggest issue I have is the lack of changes to the game. Other than the background and the landing area, everything else basically stays the same.
Also, although anyone with fingers can play the game, it takes a fair amount of skill to get a high score. It's also a game that's not "winnable", you unlock levels by a cumluative score and for kids who need a standard "Level Complete" screen, this might not be for them. My recommendation on minimum age would be 5 - 6. Kids over 6 will have a better chance at getting into the skill of the game and start to see higher scores.
So, is ROBOT 99 for you?
Are you in the mood for something different? Do you want a casual, hectic and crazy game you can share with 2 or 3 other people? If you are, then this is right up your alley. And at this point, ROBOT 99 is $0.99. It is a no-brainer at this price and is great fun for the whole family, and will likely get everyone in hysterics while they play. The designer, Keng-Fu, said that he aimed to create a fun, multi-touch game for families. I can say for certain that he succeeded.