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Jungle Twister Puzzle Expedition

For: Mobile

It's like Snake for Swampy sorts

Product: Jungle Twister Puzzle Expedition | Developer: Sumea | Publisher: Digital Chocolate | Format: Mobile | Genre: Puzzle | Players: 1 | Format: J2ME | File size: 741KB | Reviewed on: K810i other handsets | Version: Europe
Jungle Twister Puzzle Expedition Mobile, thumbnail 1
This game's title doesn't give you much of an idea what you're in for, but rest assured if - like me - you were expecting some blando jungle-themed tile-twisting puzzle game because Jungle Twister is anything but.

In fact, it's not even really a puzzle game in the most literal sense but more a sort of elaborate version of Snake with flower power styling.

What the game calls on you to do is to grow a 'Tree of Life' one vine at a time. This is imperative for the survival of the jungle apparently, but not all the jungle's inhabitants seem that keen on having vines crawling through their patch.

Hence there are hazards, mostly bugs, determined to attack you as you weave to your goal several screens up from your starting position.

These bugs are without doubt a hindrance, but they're not the foremost encumbrance you encounter in the game. That honour goes to the control system, which is deliberately unwieldy.

Instead of being able to choose which direction to move your vine in, you're confined to the '5' button. Depending on how your vine is growing (you can adjust the arc in the 'Vine Workshop'), it will alternately twist to the right then to the left for a limited growth spurt.

If you want to go straight, you need to quickly press '5' so your left and right arcs are less severe. You can also manipulate your movement to grow horizontally across the screen, although it's more difficult. It's a necessary skill to master, though, if you want to score big points or collect all three of the special items hidden in every level.

There are several other objectives you can choose to complete in each of these levels, but simply reaching the top without losing all of your health by bashing into an ever growing cast of hostile bugs and creepy crawlies is all you actually have to do in order to move on.

You can use your vine's flowers to attract good bugs, and, in turn, flower points to spend on customising your vine if you want to, but it's optional - a decision that doesn't exactly make for a compelling game.

Obviously it's not a bad idea to make a game that anyone can complete then throw in high score challenges, unlockable achievements and collectible items as Jungle Twister does, but in a puzzle type game such as this one it's not a perfect fit.

What also doesn't work brilliantly is the fact you have no way of knowing where any of the things you're trying to collect are located. Since you can't see all of the level and there's no radar, you simply have to explore, and that's easier said than done when you're battling against walls of baddies and in control of a vine determined to grow in directions you don't want it to.

It's hard to dwell on these negatives for long though because it's still a corker of a mobile game. It's very unlike anything else out there, the one-button controls are well suited to handset play and the game is constantly introducing new elements such as new enemies, collectibles and flowers to add to your vine for different effects.

It's a very solid, pretty and well thought-out concept. Despite this, you might want to avoid planting its seed on your phone if you're after a game with a bit more challenge. Jungle Twister's main game is a serene experience that grows on you, but only really tests you if you can be bothered to twist about levels looking for hidden stuff.
Jungle Twister Puzzle Expedition
Reviewer photo
Kath Brice | 7 January 2009
A unique and easy-to-play Snake-esque puzzler in which you grow a vine up through screen-fulls of jungle, collecting good bugs and dodging bad ones. It looks pretty and plays well, but it's only really a challenge if you put in the time to explore
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