Ivy The Kiwi?

When I first picked up this game, from the creators of Sonic, I wasn’t too impressed. In fact my first thought was something along the lines of  ‘What on earth…?’ It seemed so simple and I thought I would be bored within two levels. I think I pulled a face for about ten minutes, stubborn in my train of thought that it was never going to impress me. But a little while later I had to admit to myself that I was charmed by it, and didn’t want Ivy, the bird-that-looks-like-a-chocobo, to die.

The game has an old-school feel about it, with the opening sequence done in a story telling fashion, from a book. The visuals suit the feel, not garish or in your face, just a subtle beauty with a great variety of backdrops and nice animations. That coupled with a nice simple (but not repetitive) soundtrack for each stage sets a nice tone.

So let’s run through the mechanics of the game. It’s basically one big escort mission. The closest game I can compare it to is Lemmings, in that you have to keep steering Ivy away from danger. The way you do that, of course, is by controlling vines around her. You can draw up to three vines before one disappears. Using the stylus you draw blockades, create springs, and basically manouver the route for the bird while she relentlessly moves on forward. In earlier levels, the difficulty is quite low as you only have to stop Ivy from walking into spikes or falling to her doom. In later levels, it picks up a bit when you have to navigate around moving hazards, such as rats. It is a nice gradual difficulty spike, and only when you go away and come back to it you can see how so much has been done with so little.

Being left-handed, I experienced a couple of things which were slightly annoying. There were some instances where the responsiveness was a bit off, or I’d try and bend a vine, only to draw a new one. This was rather frustrating for me, especially when I’d just got into the flow of things. This is a minor annoyance, though, and my right-handed partner didn’t seem to encounter it as much.

There are 100 levels in total. Seems like a lot, but if you zip through from start to finish it doesn’t take that long at all. You’ll easily finish a level well within its time limit. Throughout each level, though, there are feathers that you can collect. Some are simple to obtain, others… well, it will take a few tries, and the odd time out. These feathers are where the challenge is. Like to collect things? You’ll be at it for weeks.







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