Do you remember playing Air Hockey as a kid, constantly hitting the puck back and forth attempting to get past your opponents defences and score? That was fun, right? And you must have played, or at least seen, Peggle, the hit casual arcade game from PopCap that has the player bouncing a ball around the screen trying to clear the target pegs? Well, GroundBreaking Games have taken these two ideas, thrown them into a blender, added a touch of cool and then given them a damn good blitz. The result is then poured into a cocktail glass and finished with an iPhone shaped mini umbrella. They call this concoction Puckerz!
So, once you have downloaded this tasty little beverage onto your IPhone, what can you expect?. The player begins by choosing a puck from a rather funky collection of designs. This has absolutely no bearing on the gameplay, but it is a nice little touch.
The player then puts their finger on the puck and pulls back to designate the strength of the shot, aims and releases. The aim of the game is quite simply to hit, and thus remove, 75 percent or more of the orbs on the level. These orbs come in a variety of glowing colours with different scores attached, encouraging the player to come back again and again to play for a higher score. All of this is done under the watchful eye of a time limit.
Things don’t stay this easy though. As the player progresses through the levels, new items are added that can help or hinder the player. Unmovable blocks that come in a variety of sizes will cause the puck to ricochet off in random directions. Holes and explosive orbs will appear that inflict time penalties. Special orbs can be gathered that reward with extra time, or increase the distance or speed of the puck, which is not always a good thing. Then there will be points on the level that will stop your puck dead and then blast it off in another direction at high speed.
As you can imagine, and expect, the deeper into the game that the player goes, the more difficult it becomes to eradicate the target number of orbs. It becomes more difficult to get to all of the orbs, hidden behind unmoving objects, and much easier to accidentally find yourself falling down a hole and suffering a time penalty. Whereas in the first few levels you may aim to, and even succeed in, taking out all of the orbs in a given level, before long you will find yourself frantically picking off as many as you can before running out of time.
For such a simple concept, Puckerz! seems to have it all. The visuals are sharp and good looking, there is a really nice soundtrack going on that doesn’t get repetitive, and the gameplay is both challenging and fun.
Puckerz! is only 59p on the App Store and embodies what the iPhone does best games-wise. Quick-hit entertainment and a low price that keeps you coming back for more. Pick it up now before they realise that they could charge more!
Puckerz! is available on the App Store for just 59p