Saturday, September 3, 2011

Up And Up! - 1.99 (Swift Seven)

Up And Up is a new slingshot type adventure platform game from Swift Seven Multimedia, a 2 person outfit located in Sweden. Up And Up is easily one of my favorite games to come out in the last couple months, and the attention it’s getting, or lack of, is pretty surprising. Maybe it shouldn’t be, as there’s quite a few games I feel really deserve a lot more attention then they’ve gotten, but I can almost always understand why. The controls might be a little funky for some people at first, people might have been expecting to get something else, but with Up And Up, it’s a pretty straight forward adventure game that has you stretch and slingshot your character through the beautifully made levels, is made by indie developers, and is made for both casual and hardcore gamers. These types of games usually do pretty well in the AppStore. Then again, most of the games in this genre weren’t released the same week as Jetpack Joyride, Samurai Bloodshow, Frogger Decades and Crimson: Steam Pirates. So here’s hoping I can shed a little bit more light on this great title.

In Up And Up, you’ll play as a bungy monster who’s trying to escape from the rising lava, falling bats, angry frogs, and more, while using objects, tools, and power-ups to help you get to safety. There’s 2 worlds, each with 15 levels to try and make your way through, collecting the 8 pieces of cheese, finding the golden bat, and trying to beat the secret level times for even higher scores and a better star rating.
The controls in Up And Up are great. Tight, responsive, and they work extremely well within the game. To get your bungy monster through each level, you’ll need to tap down on him, pull him back, and fling him towards the next hook, which he attaches to automatically, while if you miss a hook, you can hold down on the screen to activate a sort of helicopter ability, and then move your finger left or right to guide him to a hook. The physics and camera angles come into play quite a bit here, and they’re both great. Physics-wise, the game is awesome, with just enough gravity to have an effect on where you fling your character next, and when you miss, the helicopter ability works perfectly and feels great. The camera angle changes depending on the angle that you pull your character back at, for instance, pulling to the left makes the camera sort of pan in a 3D way to the right so that you can see more clearly what you’re aiming at. It might sound like it would distract from the gameplay, but really, it adds a lot to the game and the overall aesthetic.
The levels are just long enough to stay challenging, and upset you if you die right at the end, but not get frustrating when you have to replay them. The level design is also very, very good, and when you’re playing, you can tell that a lot of thought, effort, and beta testing went into each and every stage, as well as each and every move you can make while going through the stages. 30 levels might not sound like a lot, but it’ll sometimes take you multiple tries to get through most of them, and with the difficulty curve, will take a while to complete. There’s also another world with 15 levels coming in a future update.
The enemies are stylish, and varied, while having a pretty big impact on how you make your way through each of the levels. Sometimes you’ll need to quickly jump from one hook to another to avoid one falling on you, other times you’ll need to wait until it’s safe to move through an area, and sometimes you’ll just avoid spots completely. The objects that help are very well placed, and varied as well. Yellow hooks that let you do a super jump, and jetpacks that run on depleting fuel, which you can also pick up while riding them, can be found scattered throughout the levels, along with green goo to bounce off of on the sides of the walls, moving hooks and more.
The graphics are very nice, and environments are extremely colorful and visually pleasing. The game is also supported by Retina Display and is Universal, so you can experience the game in all it’s visual glory. S7 has certainly done everything right for their first release in order to leave a lasting and very nice mark on the AppStore gaming community, except for leaving out online services. They will be added very soon in an update, but leaving them out in the initial release, along with releasing it the same week as many other big name games, might just be why this game has been knocked to the back of the pack in terms of ‘must buy’ games. I, however, am very, very glad that I have been able to experience this game, as it’s definitely left it’s mark on me. I’m eagerly awaiting GC support, future levels, and whatever S7 has in store for gamers in the future. At $1.99, Up And Up is a must buy game.

Up And Up is getting a score of 9.5 out of 10, and would get a perfect 10/10 if it included online support in this v1.0 release. Once it’s added, this might just be the first review I end up changing the last paragraph of, and re-posting with a 10 out of 10 score after it gets updated.


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