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Critter Escape!

For: iPhone   Also on: Android, iPad

A mean bean running machine

Product: Critter Escape! | Publisher: Chillingo | Developer: Kiz Studios | Format: iPhone | Genre: Action | Players: 1 | Version: US | App version: 1.0
Critter Escape! iPhone, thumbnail 1
3D stealth games are a tough nut for developers to crack on mobile devices. Camera controls are not as responsive as they are on consoles, and so terrain and walls become visual impairments as well as obstacles to be negotiated.

Chillingo's Critter Escape! takes place in one such 3D environment and puts you in charge of a pint-sized kidney bean of a protagonist. From the outset, this seems like a very bad idea. But does it work in practice?

Dash it all

Sadly, it turns out it's also a bad idea in practice. The game is genuinely fun, and well worth the purchase price of 69p/99c, but at some point during development somebody should have pointed out that it's often impossible to see the creature over half of the environment walls.

Critter Escape! plays like a traditional stealth title. Your primary goal in most levels is to reach the exit without being detected by enemies, and along the way you might be asked to complete a few side-objectives.

You control the critter by drawing a line across the level with your fingertip. When you lift your finger from the screen of your device the critter sets off in a madcap dash along whatever path you drew.

If the path takes the critter in front of a wandering enemy, or you wish to change it for whatever reason, a simple tap on the screen will stop the critter in its adorable tracks.

Critter skitter

To the game's great credit, the side objectives and challenges change almost every level.

Some stages must be completed within a certain period of time, while others require you to grab power-ups and knock out the wandering guards. In later levels, you're tasked with freeing captive critters from the research facility in which you begin the game.

Critter Escape! wouldn't be half as enjoyable as it is if every level had you stealthing about in a formulaic quest to grab a red jewel and avoid being seen.

Sadly, for all of its variety and innovation the gameĀ is ultimately hamstrung by its visual presentation.

If you have large hands like me and play on the iPhone, your hand itself will hide the line that you draw for the critter's path. Even those with more slender extremities will find themselves losing the path behind bits of wall, crates, and other pieces of atmospheric scenery from time to time.

Run like the wind

In the end, Critter Escape! is a good time-killer with an impressive amount of content in its small profile. If you play with a stylus, or on an iPad, you'll enjoy it even more. Just prepare yourself for a certain amount of visibility-related frustration.
Critter Escape!
Reviewer photo
Matthew Diener | 24 August 2012
A cute and enjoyable stealth / adventure title that is hampered a bit by fiddly level design
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