Friday, January 8, 2016

IOS Review #109: Blown Away

Title: Blown Away: Secret of the Wind
Developer: Black Pants Studio
Platforms: IOS Universal
Price: $2.99
Besides being quirky and/or having a unique art style, the only definite thing you can say about the games from Black Pants Studio is that they're diverse. From the hand-drawn mirrored landscapes of Symmetrain to the 3D platforming and environmental dicing of Tiny & Bing, each of their games seems to try something different. Blown Away: Secret of the Wind is their newest iOS game and it combines auto-running and fast-pacing puzzling in a charming and colorful package.
Hendrik is unfortunately having a bad day. Through a gust of wind, Mother Nature took away not just his home, but his hair too. Now he travels a weird and dangerous world, collecting the pieces of his house along the way. For the unprepared, this land would prove to be an insurmountable challenge, between deadly gaps, roaming monsters, and raging flames, among other hazards. But Hendrik has a unique tool in his arsenal: a pair of teleporting boots, that Blown Away's puzzles and platforming revolve around.

In each of the game's 120 levels, you walk to the right automatically, recharging your boots with each step. Tapping the screen teleports you to that location, even as you're falling to certain doom. The charging element is what turns a relatively simple mechanic into a puzzler. Your boots only charge when you're moving, and you only have a limited amount of teleports, so reaching the end of a level means assessing the level and figuring out where to teleport so you have enough distance to recharge. But distance isn't the only thing to consider; timing is important as well if you want to evade patrolling monsters and crushing sawblades.
The auto-running and boot recharge complement each other nicely, forcing you to always pay attention to the path ahead, thinking of how many teleports you'll need to cross a gap, where you should teleport to and when. Through that simple single-tap mechanic, Blown Away delivers both puzzles on the go and the arcade-y thrill of dodging traps, and it's all presented in a vibrant hand-drawn art style that brings to mind old-style cartoons.
Blown Away is available for $2.99.

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