Version Reviewed: 1.1
App Reviewed on: iPhone 5
Graphics / Sound Rating:
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We humans may lack the claws, fur, and teeth that make our wild cousins so cool, but we're masters at manipulating our environment to suit us. Like, who needs to suffer from winter's cold? Build a house, slap some insulation on that baby, and we're good to go.
Our smarts allow us to do more than survive; we can live comfortably in harsh environments. But our lifestyles take a pretty hard toll on the environment, as iPollute plainly illustrates using clay models and stop-motion cameras.
Each session of Bulkypix's iPollute puts players in a pristine valley. Tapping icons at the bottom of the screen causes the valley to foul up in some manner. Players can dump garbage everywhere, spill oil, sling chemicals, pollute the air, and develop a factory that literally vomits toxic waste.
But iPollute isn't exclusively about making a mess, nor does it exist to demonize corporations. If players manage to figure out the correct sequence of events and push the buttons accordingly, the polluted valley becomes clean and productive. Waste is managed carefully, the factory cleans up its act, the water gets cleaned up, and everyone is happier. But if the player causes a little too much damage - well, skimming trash and oil from drinking water is nobody's idea of a good time.
iPollute's strongest point is its graphics. The clay models are a treat to watch, which is good because sequences play over and over without leaving the player much idea of what needs to be done. Fumbling with the buttons in the right order eventually restores the damaged valley and grants a happy ending, but it's not wholly clear how each event is linked. The end result is a lot of random button-pushing.
There are some purchasable clues about the correct order of events, but getting enough "green coins" to buy those hints takes a long time and a lot of playthroughs. Luckily, there's a fast-forward option for the cinema scenes, though it also needs to be purchased to be accessed.
It's hard to think of iPollute as a game. It's more like a box of neat-looking cartoons that play when buttons are pushed. But there is a pattern here somewhere, and iPollute's Claymation is good enough to warrant multiple viewings. It may not have intense or intuitive gameplay, but at least it has barfing factories.