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Jar on a Bar

For:   Also on: iPhoneiPad
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A bit fishy

Product: Jar on a Bar | Developer: PunFlay | Publisher: Chillingo | Format: iPhone | Genre: Puzzle | Players: 1 | File size: 23.3MB | Version: Europe | App version: 1.0
 
Jar on a Bar iPhone, thumbnail 1
The path of true love is rarely smooth and trouble-free, but it's even more complex when you're a fish.

Take the central character of Jar on a Bar: happily swimming with his female companion in an idyllic river, he is mercilessly snatched by a heartless fisherman and placed as a trophy in a jar.

For reasons that are never fully explained, this same fisherman seems fond of balancing delicate objects atop wooden structures. And therein lies the challenge - you have to get the fish from the top of the pile to the bottom, so he can leap out of the bowl and rejoin the love of his life.

Jarhead

To do this, you have to carefully slide each piece of wood out from under the jar, one by one. The speed at which you flick away each piece determines what happens to the jar - a swift flick usually ensures a tidy drop, but there are times when you'll want to take your time, lest you spill any of the precious water contained within.

While the ultimate objective is to reunite the two fishy lovers, the amount of water you lose during this process negatively impacts your chances of getting the coveted three-star rating at the conclusion of each stage.

As the game progresses, other materials are introduced. For example, there are ice blocks that you can break with a quick tap, and while this might seem more straightforward than swiping out wooden bars it actually creates its own challenges - timing becomes paramount.

With its Jenga-like gameplay and appealing presentation, Jar on a Bar would seem at first glance to be another sure-fire hit for publisher Chillingo.

Sadly, the game is afflicted with some of the most infuriatingly inconsistent physics you'll ever see in an iOS title. Bars often behave erratically, speeding off at the merest touch at one point and then stubbornly refusing to budge at another.

Top to bottom

This problem isn't helped by the fact that the game doesn't appear to respond very convincingly to your input. Sometimes it reads minor movements as aggressive gestures, and this usually results in you failing the level and having to start over.

When you consider that some of the more difficult stages require patience and a lot of block movement, it's surely obvious just how annoying these problems can get.

Factor in a rather overzealous in-app purchasing system - which effectively dangles solutions to tricky levels in front of your nose like a carrot - and you've got a game that squanders most of its early promise and ends up becoming a chore rather than a pleasure.
 
Jar on a Bar
Reviewer photo
Damien McFerran | 24 July 2012
With its ropey physics and irksome controls, Jar on a Bar fails to capitalise on what is an initially engaging premise
 
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