iOS Quick Hits: Float, slash and do the robot dance

January 16, 2012

This week, we’re looking at the planning in advance of RoboHero, the physics-heavy slicing of Catch the Princess and the gravity-defying Inertia: Escape Velocity.

RoboHero: This new release from Bravado Waffle Studios has drawn many comparisons to modern unplugged classic RoboRally. This is warranted, as both have players queueing up incremental movement and turns before watching the orders followed in an ever-changing environment. This iOS title, though, turns the formula in an action-focused direction, and offers a very different experience.

The single-player mode offers the challenge of timing dodging obstacles in advance, while the multiplayer component offers a faster-paced version of the experience people love from RoboRally: pre-programmed instructions being totally messed up by other players’ interference. (It’s like Bomberman for people who like chess.) While RoboHero doesn’t wow you visually, it’s certainly serviceable, and it’s the mechanics you’re playing this one for. 4/5

Catch The Princess: While it’s billed as “Cut the Rope meets Ico,” there’s not much here that resembles the PS2 classic. On the other hand, there’s a heck of a lot that resembles Cut the Rope, and it’s coated with a thick layer of visual detail and atmosphere, and equipped with a more robust physics system.

In it, you’re cutting chains holding a princess in a round cage in various impractical dungeon configurations. The difficulty’s a step up from its inspiration, and more so from trial-and-error physics than brain-teasing puzzles, but it’s a worthy replacement app for those who want more string-slicing. 4/5

Inertia: Escape Velocity: Red Fly Studios’ platformer has an interesting premise: take the standard iOS run-and-jump platformer and add a new mechanic, inertia. To navigate levels, you hold the inertia button when running or jumping, and your space-suit-guy just keeps floating in that direction, changing direction only when hitting walls or obstacles.

Where it falters is the execution: the mechanic isn’t intuitive to use, as you’re often quickly moving from the jump button to the inertia one and this process isn’t streamlined. (Since there’s no double-jump, couldn’t a simple second tap when airborne trigger the float?) When you get used to it, it provides an interesting distraction, but it could have easily been more. 2/5