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iPhone  header logo

Catcha Catcha Aliens!

For: iPhone   Also on: Android, iPad

Catchy

Product: Catcha Catcha Aliens! | Developer: Hot Sauce Interactive | Format: iPhone | Genre: Adventure | Players: 1 | Version: Europe | App version: 1.0.1
 
Catcha Catcha Aliens! iPhone, thumbnail 1
When a developer informs you that the biggest selling point of its latest game is that it was designed with input from Jonathan Ross, you might assume that certain straws are being clutched at.

However, in the case of Catcha Catcha Aliens!, it would appear that tenuous celebrity involvement actually comes with tangible benefits. This is a Temple Run-style romp which breaks new ground and looks positively scrumptious while it does so.

Tasked by an elderly commander by the name of ZubZub (voiced by Ross's long-time chum Stephen Fry, who is no stranger to the art of lending his vocal talents to video games) with clearing the galaxy of a pesky alien menace, you have to dash around various planets with your net, scooping up xenomorphs and avoiding deadly obstacles.

During each mission, additional orders and tips are delivered by a robot named S.H.I.P., who - in case you hadn't guessed - is voiced by Ross himself. As is the case in Temple Run, swipe gestures handle turns, jumps and slides, while tilting the device will move your character left and right when dashing along a straight path.

Alien menace

While this might sound slightly derivative, there are a few additional things to consider. Holding your finger down on the screen activates booster mode, during which you automatically avoid danger and can ensnare multiple aliens in double-quick time.

It only last for a few seconds, however, and once exhausted takes a short while to recharge, so you can't rely on it too much.

Another cool feature is the mega net, which is unleashed with a double-tap on the screen. This will clear all of the visible aliens in one fell swoop, but beware - on each of the game's worlds there are harmless indigenous creatures who must be spared captivity. Using the mega net will capture them, too. You can purchase upgrades for these items as well as additional gadgets in the in-game shop.

Although it adheres to the standard endless-runner template, Catcha Catcha Aliens! features a lot more visual variety thanks to its multiple worlds.

There's also a lot of variety in the obstacles you face. Granted, you're still just jumping or sliding, but the objects concerned are forever changing, which keeps you on your toes. One moment you might be leaping over a pool of bubbling poison, the next it's a venus flytrap.

Gotta catcha them all

However, the element of Catcha Catcha Aliens! which keeps you coming back for more is the star system, which is based around mini challenges. In games such as Angry Birds, the three-star rating is all about your in-game performance - how quickly you completed the level, how few moves you made, etc.

However, in Catcha Catcha Aliens! the stars have to be earned by completing objectives unique to the stage on which you're playing.

For example, one level forces you to hold your device upside down for a set period of time, while another will ask that you turn left at junctions five times in a row.

Because stars are used to unlock subsequent planets, you have to perform these sometimes silly feats - and the game is made all the more enjoyable as a result.

Net result

Using cash won during your quest, you can upgrade your equipment and generally improve your chances of success.

You can purchase more in-game currency using an in-app purchase, but to be perfectly honest the game isn't exactly stingy when it comes to rewarding you with cash, so unless you’re particularly impatient then there's little need to reach for your wallet.

You can also unlock all of the planets using real money, which again seems unnecessary unless you're keen to see all the game has to offer without making any actual effort.

Visually, Catcha Catcha Aliens! is nothing short of gorgeous, especially when experienced on an iPhone 5 or fifth-generation iPod touch.

The 3D graphics are bursting with detail and the hordes of aliens actually look rather cute as they sprint away, furtively turning their heads every now and then to look behind them and see how close they are to your net - and their doom.

We were sceptical when we heard the story behind Catcha Catcha Aliens! and the involvement of Messrs Ross and Fry, but it would appear that the famous talk show host knows a thing or two about game design - in retrospect, hardly surprising when you consider how massive a fan of gaming he purports to be.

Catcha Catcha Aliens!
takes the core concept behind the massively successful Temple Run and adds its own spin, offering plenty of challenge and amusement.
 
Catcha Catcha Aliens!
Reviewer photo
Damien McFerran | 11 December 2012
An impressive and feature-rich enhancement of the endless-runner concept, Catcha Catcha Aliens! may rely on celebrity connections to get itself noticed, but it has the quality to stand on its own merits
 
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