App Reviewed on: iPad Air 2
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Rolling-style platformers are hardly new. Rolando was available on the App Store back in 2008, and LocoRoco was kicking around on the PSP two years before that. Between now and then, the genre hasn't really evolved much. Most games like these rely on a cute aesthetic and a little novelty to win players over, and it's a formula that generally works. The Big Journey continues this trend by being a very by-the-numbers rolling-platformer with such an adorable premise and colorful art style that it's hard not to enjoy playing it, even though it's nothing groundbreaking.
In The Big Journey, you play as a large cat. This cat is so large that it's actually just a circular blob that you control by rotating the game environment around it to let gravity slide and roll it around as necessary.
This cat is likely so large because its favorite food is dumplings. In fact, the whole story of The Big Journey revolves around these dumplings, as you are on a quest to find Mr. Choo, your cat protagonist's favorite dumpling-maker. On your quest, you'll have to tilt the world to guide your cat hero through levels while finding dumplings, collecting bugs, avoiding enemies, and meeting animal companions.
The Big Journey follows a standard platforming structure. The game is divided into five worlds with five levels each. In these levels, you can opt to tilt your device or use virtual buttons to rotate the world and tap a jump button to help your kitty get around.
The challenge in these levels isn't to complete them, but rather to accomplish goals like finding a certain number of dumplings or collect a certain number of bugs before reaching the exit. Aside from these goals, there is very little challenge to The Big Journey. Even as enemies start populating levels more and more, there is no way to die in the game. The worst penalties you might encounter might be dropping a dumpling or losing time that might prevent you from earning a three-star rating on the level.
Cats are cute
There isn't really much about The Big Journey's gameplay that sticks out to me as particularly creative or new, but I hardly found that a problem. Bouncing and rolling around as a pleasantly plump cat in a super colorful environment was more than enough to keep me pushing through the game.
Everything in The Big Journey is just so cute and charming that you want to see more of it. You want to explore down its branching paths because you know you'll find something that makes you smile. It also probably helps that nothing can kill you. You're just a cat, and you love dumplings, and everything's great.
The bottom line
If you are craving a platformer that pushes your skills to their limits, go pick up Golf Zero or something. The Big Journey just wants you to be happy, and it succeeds at doing that by providing a familiar formula in an adorable package.