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For: iPhone

Nothing to do with photocopiers

Product: Aerox | Developer: Synoptical Studios | Format: iPhone | Genre: Puzzle | Players: 1 | Networking: wireless (network) | Version: Europe | App version: 1.0.1
Aerox iPhone, thumbnail 1
Christmas crackers start losing their appeal from about the age of 12.

It doesn’t take long to realise that an awful pun, a flimsy party hat, and a plastic hair clip are scant pay-off following a weedy bang and an elbow to the chops from your neighbour at the dinner table.

Nevertheless, there’s always one prize that makes the bothersome bangers worth it. Those little plastic ball mazes may not be the height of entertainment, but they can eat up a fair few minutes of boredom.

Rollin’ rollin’ rollin’

The simple act of guiding a ball to a goal by tilting the surface on which it sits is an enduring pastime. Aerox is yet another addition to this sub-genre and a credible attempt at that.

Its no-frills take on ball-rolling is refreshing, with a minimalist presentation made up for by sleek-edged 3D graphics moving at a buttery smooth framerate (even on a second-generation iPod touch).

The controls are pleasantly straightforward: tilt your device to roll the ball in the desired direction. Touching the right side of the screen fixes the camera in place, allowing for slight shifts to the left and right while in full flight.

It’s when you’re in full flow that Aerox works at its best. The lateral controls are perfectly calibrated to make your ball manoeuvrable and even the twistiest, most precariously designed section (of which there are plenty) shouldn’t hold you up for long.

Negative feedback

Tilting forward is more problematic. It takes a comparatively large movement to get your ball moving at full pelt. As such, the position in which you inevitably find yourself is hunched forward, looking down on your device.

The main momentum killer, though, is when the game slows you down to shunt green blocks around or to make tight, low speed manoeuvres. The controls don’t seem to be able to handle this level of delicacy well, leading to a number of frustrating deaths.

Other issues are less serious, such as the online highscore system that seems reluctant to tell you anything. You have to go back to the level in question via the level select screen (which is borderline broken itself) to check how highly your time ranks. Even then, it doesn’t tell you how much faster the next person is.

Independent of these issues, Aerox is a nicely presented and playable tilt ‘n’ roll game. What’s more, it’s cheaper than a box of crackers and much more fun than anything you’d find inside.
Reviewer photo
Jon Mundy | 6 August 2010
A great-looking 3D maze game, Aerox is at its best when negotiating its flowing courses at speed - in spite of minor control and menu concerns
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