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Sky Gnomes

For:   Also on: iPhoneiPad
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Dwarf dropping

Product: Sky Gnomes | Developer: In-house | Publisher: Foursaken Media | Format: iPhone | Genre: Casual, Racing | Players: 1 | File size: 46.1MB | Version: Europe | App version: 1.0
Sky Gnomes iPhone, thumbnail 1
If you get asynchronous multiplayer right you can create the same tensions and friendly animosities that spring up in normal online play. Get it wrong and you're left with a slightly wonky single-player experience with some silly player names.

Sky Gnomes, from Foursaken Media, strikes part of the balance perfectly, gently seeding your experience with rivalries, and rewarding you for regular play. The problem is, the game underneath it all falls a little flat.

Gnome direction but down

You play as one of the titular gnomes, who like nothing better than piloting ramshackle flying machines straight down from great heights. Weaving between clouds and lumps of hail, and collecting snow flakes for speed boosts, it's your job to beat all the other players in the world and win the daily tournaments the game has to offer.

Every run is essentially a time trial, as you try to work your way up the leaderboards. There are challenges, too, and completing them unlocks the next tournament. Some of these are as simple as beating a set time, whereas others require you to change the setup of your sky machine.

Collecting coins and spare parts is an essential part of each run, because you'll need them to upgrade and augment your ride. While the coins are plentiful, the game's miserly when it comes to doling out nuts and bolts, so in-app purchases become a must if you want to stay competitive.

Common or sky-garden

At the end of every day, your position in the tournament is calculated and you're rewarded accordingly, moving up to a higher skill level if you've done well enough. It's an interesting and exciting system, with each race seeing you taking on ghosts of two other racers' best times.

Unfortunately, for all of its great ideas and gorgeous presentation Sky Gnomes is a little underwhelming. The gameplay isn't as tight as the rest of the package, and the races often feel like lonely plummets - a problem exacerbated by the size of each track.

Sky Gnomes is not without its charm, and sometimes it's a lot of fun, but its races get repetitive, and too quickly you feel like you're chasing something that's always just out of reach.
Sky Gnomes
Reviewer photo
Harry Slater | 10 April 2012
Brilliantly presented, and with some great ideas about asynchronous multiplayer, Sky Gnomes doesn't quite have the gaming chops to back up all of its clever concepts
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