Saturday, August 20, 2011

Fatcat Rush - 1.99 (Tomodomo Oy)

Fatcat Rush is a new side-scrolling runner game from Tomodomo Oy. It’s his first game in the AppStore, and like many of the previous first publishers I’ve reviewed lately, he shows hardly any signs of being a newcomer to the scene. In the game, you play as Tombo, a cat who lives on the peak of a huge tower. Every week his favorite food is shipped to him by a hot-air balloon. But this week, the balloon carrying his delivery was struck by lightning, flinging his food all throughout the pathways of the tower. With his stomach grumbling, he decides to go after it all, making sure to hurry before the food spoils.

There’s 15 levels in Fatcat Rush, each with different environmental hazards. The level scrolls, and spins around, while you climb up the pathways further up the tower. There’s food littering the paths, and some shortcuts full of extra food hidden along the way, so keeping an eye open for kind of harder to reach paths usually pays off. You’re given 3 hearts for each stage, and crashing into a part of the terrain, or an obsticle will bring you down a peg. There’s different kinds of food all over the place, some giving more points than others, for instance; Whipped Cream Taco’s give you 1 point, while PizzaBurgers give you 10, and Ketchup Lollipops give you 3.
There’s also Health Shakes which give you a heart, but you can never have more than 3 hit points at any given time. Fish are all over the place, in a bright blue circle, and impossible to miss. Each one adds to your speed/score multiplier and boost meter, which gradually decreases over time. Running into objects drops your multiplier as well. This means that the more fish you collect in a level, the higher your multiplier will be, and the bigger your final score will end up being.
The controls in Fatcat Rush are simple, and work very well within the game. You have a button for jumping, and a button for dashing while you’re on the ground, and kicking while you’re in the air. Dashing on the ground helps you break open crates that are hiding food, fish, and shakes, but you need to be careful with your timing, because running into one of these crates causes you to loose a heart. While you’re in the air, pressing the dash button makes you dash kick, this is very useful for long jumping, reaching harder to reach places, shortcuts, and long strands of food only accessible by jump kicking.
The graphics are great. Smooth and professional, and the environments are very colorful and vibrant. The user interface is great, very clear, and easy to navigate, as well as the HUD during gameplay. You have your 3 hearts in the top left corner, your level progress in the middle, and then your score. Underneath your score is your speed multiplier, and boost meter, going down the right side of the screen, then your jump button on the bottom left, and dash/kick button on the bottom right, with the pause button in-between the two. The physics are great, not too floaty, and never feeling weighed down, coupled with the speed and flow of the game, it plays wonderfully. The music and effects also fit in the game nicely, and add to the atmosphere and overall feel of the game.
There are no leaderboards for Fatcat Rush, which is a shame, because there’s great scoring mechanics, and it would add a whole lot to the replayability of the game. There are however, in-game achievements, 15 to be exact, along with 4 different outfits you can unlock, including one that makes you look like Mario. This does help add to drive the game, and help with the replayability, but once you get them all unlocked, you might loose a lot of the drive you once had to play. The game is very well done, very cute, and really is a blast to play. Great level design, and wonderful controls and physics, along with great scoring does make it a game that you will want to play through completely. But it does need a little more to make you want to keep it on your device for any extended period of time, an endless or survival mode would go a very long way. It is a very well made game, and the way it's going now, will end up being one of my favorite runners, especially if the developers end up adding another mode, and online leaderboards. For $1.99, it’s a great deal, and definitely a game you should pick up if you’re a fan of the genre, or cats.

Fatcat Rush gets 4 out of 5 stars from me.


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