iPad Game Review: Save The Furries!
Reviewed by Tom Slayton
Save The Furries! Is a platform puzzler where you are tasked with manipulating the environment to bring as many furries as possible to safety. While it employs some of the same mechanics as more traditional physics puzzlers, it doesn't fit neatly into any of the App Store's game genres thanks to it being heavily influenced from an old classic from the nineties: Lemmings.
Save The Furries is a genre-busting physics/platform puzzler wherein you must save some, uh, Furries (no, I don't know what they are) who appear to be hell-bent on self-destruction. The gameplay is clearly patterned after the 16-bit computer game Lemmings and benefits greatly from both a touch interface and a graphical facelift. At the beginning of each level (60 total), the Furries will emerge and begin their mindless trek across the screen. In order to save them from themselves, you will need to manipulate their environment to eliminate dangers and predators, and to get them safely to the exit. You will accomplish this goal by utilizing pinballs, ropes, crates, carts, cannons, and slingshots. Expect to replay each level as you become familiar with its layout as this is also a game of exploration, which is a good thing.
Save The Furries features Game Center Support, although there seems to be a bug that prevents the tracking of achievements. Thankfully, Save The Furries! asks for no in-app purchases, and is consequently nicely balanced from the start.
Save The Furries! is completely rendered using 3D models, something that puzzles me considering the fact that this is completely a 2D game. While the environments are colorful and the models well-drawn, I found myself feeling a bit underwhelmed by the graphics, wishing instead for crisp, hand-drawn, 2D sprites. Further, the game is not universal, meaning you will have to purchase separate version for iPad and iPhone. Since the gameplay is identical on both, I can't think of a good reason for creating separate apps except for the chance to charge iOS users twice. The game supports pinch-to-zoom, allowing you to get a larger or smaller view of the action, depending on your needs at the moment. Both scrolling and zooming are silky smooth, and work exactly as expected. One unusual feature of the game is the fact that it supports both portrait and landscape modes. This is a refreshing little addition that I hope will make an appearance on other iOS titles as well.
The sound effects of Save The Furries! consist mostly of cartoon noises, which fit nicely with the spectacular ways your furries can meet their doom. Some of them were a bit jarring, however, so turn the volume down before you start. The music is a forgettable mix of upbeat yet repetitive tunes that will most likely cause you to turn it off after the first few levels if not sooner.
Save The Furries! Is a fun and original physics/platform puzzler that pays tribute to the 16-bit classic Lemmings while enhancing nearly every aspect of it. The 3D graphics are bright and colorful (although not as crisp as 2D sprites would have been) and the support for portrait mode is a welcome surprise. Not a universal app (you will need to buy both versions separately if you want to play it on both the small and large screens. Lastly, the absence of IAPs means you are buying a fully featured game right out of the gate.
Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):
Graphics: - 4 - Colorful 3D graphics bring each level to life.
Sound: - 3 - The sound effects are unremarkable but appropriate. Turn the music off, however.
Controls: - 5 - Simple, intuitive, and accurate touch interface.
Gameplay: - 5 - Physics/Platform puzzler that harkens back to the early days of computer gaming while bringing some of its own mojo along. No IAPs!
Playing Hints and Tips:
Experiment and tinker on each level to get the feel of it. Many Furries will die spectacular deaths while you familiarize yourself with their hazardous environments. Get used to this idea. Don't forget to utilize the zoom and screen rotation to give you the best view for each level.
Release Date: December 15, 2011
Buy App: Save the Furries!
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