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iPad  header logo

Tasty Tadpoles

For: iPad   Also on: iPhone

Newt ('not') bad

Product: Tasty Tadpoles | Developer: Mark White | Publisher: Mark White | Format: iPad | Genre: Casual, Puzzle | Players: 1 | Version: Europe
 
Tasty Tadpoles iPad, thumbnail 1
Conveniently enough, Tasty Tadpoles is quite like a tadpole. Inasmuch as it comprises a simple initial phase, then develops into something that's more complex and interesting while still ultimately being just a frog.

You play as a tadpole trying to escape a series of ponds, avoiding the cannibalistic attentions of other, larger tadpoles and collecting stars along the way. You move by tapping on the screen to dart in straight lines through the water.

There are three kinds of tadpoles to avoid: green ones that patrol in fixed patterns, yellow ones that give chase if you venture too close, and red ones that pursue you doggedly all the time.

Several other game elements either help or hinder you. To list a few: whirlpools teleport you from place to place; bubbles give you momentary protection; patches of murk and lily pads hide your enemies; and reeds keep you concealed.

Spawn of satan

Despite the cutesy appearance of his game, Tasty Tadpoles dev Mark White doesn't flinch from depicting nature red in tooth and claw. There's something mildly troubling about seeing your little tadpole disappear into the mouth of a predator, and only the most hardhearted players will fail to experience some ambivalence at nudging a bug towards a yellow tadpole so that it gets eaten instead of you.

These elements come together in various moderately inventive ways throughout the game's three multi-stage environments.

For example, you sometimes have to shunt logs out of the way yourself. At other times, meanwhile, you have to trick the yellow tadpoles into doing it for you. Lily pads may conceal predators, but you can also use them to press switches. Whirlpools are just as capable of transporting a predator as they are of transporting you.

None of this moderate complexity really affects you in the game's child-friendly default Normal mode. There's no limit to the number of times you can tap the screen, so success is almost inevitable. In fact, you're allowed to move by holding your finger down on the screen, so you can simply steer your tadpole to the exit.

Collecting the odd easily accessible star here and there should enable you to unlock all of the stages without breaking a sweat, and collecting all of the stars is scarcely more difficult.

Amphidexterous

Then, there's the Puzzle mode. This is exactly the same but for one thing: there's a limit to the number of moves you can make.

Once this crucial restriction is introduced, the game becomes significantly more challenging. Rather than just opportunistically darting for the stars and darting away again, you have to observe the movement patterns of the predators, perfect the timing of your movements, and work out the best approach to each stage.

The move limit is fairly generous - Tasty Tadpoles never feels like anything other than a kid-friendly game - but you get special Golden Lillies for completing stages as efficiently as possible, so there are levels of accomplishment for which to aim.

And once you've finished the main set, you can unlock additional stages by completing specific tasks, such as getting a yellow tadpole to follow you for five seconds. There are 14 challenges to complete, too.

Tasty Tadpoles won't present you with much of a challenge, and nothing about it sets it apart from the millions of other three-star casual arcade-puzzlers on the App Store. But if you're looking for a mildly taxing puzzle game to keep your own little tadpoles happy (by which I mean your children, and not your sperm), then this is a good place to start.
 
Tasty Tadpoles
Reviewer photo
Rob Hearn | 13 May 2013
While it won't give Cut the Rope anything to worry about, Tasty Tadpoles is a solidly made and accessible casual puzzler that your children will probably enjoy
 
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