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For: iPhone   Also on: iPad

A little undernourished

Product: Hungribles | Developer: Futuremark Games Studio | Publisher: Futuremark Games Studio | Format: iPhone | Genre: Casual, Puzzle | Players: 1 | Version: Europe | App version:
Hungribles iPhone, thumbnail 1
There's a certain game, made by Rovio, about disgruntled avians catapulting into structures in order to murder thieving pigs. That game, which I'm not going to mention by name in this review, has set the tone for almost all of the casual mobile games that have followed.

These contemporary casual affairs are almost compelled to star cute animals, feature believable physics, and engage the player with sweet, funny cutscenes.

Hungribles fits snugly into that camp, and even goes so far as to include a slingshot mechanism, just to make sure there are no misunderstandings.

Hungry, hungry Hungribles

Hungribles isn't about vengeance, though, it's about sharing.

Your catapult, which you aim and fire by pushing on the screen and pulling back, is filled with delicious crystalline morsels of food. Your job is to fire these rations into the orbit of a variety of different creatures.

Each of the animals has its own gravitational pull, represented by a pulsating green circle that surrounds them. These distortions in spacetime allow you to fling food at trajectories that would otherwise be impossible.

To feed each of the hungry mouths, you need to bounce food off walls, create new catapults out of shell-like glittery balls, and utilise the different powers of the animals themselves.

The supine cat, for example, reverses the polarity of the gravitational fields around the other animals when it's fed, allowing you to bounce a shot off where before it might have careened off the screen.

You have a finite number of food lumps to feed your menagerie with, and the fewer you use, the more points you can expect to accrue once the level is completed.

Om Nom no

Hungribles is a nice game to look at, mixing cartoon tweeness with a colourful palette and hand-drawn cutscenes.

The controls are reasonably tight, but sometimes your taps don't register and you fire a piece of food off into oblivion without realising what's happened.

In addition, you can only aim your catapult when you've pulled it back for a shot. That wouldn't be a problem so much if the hurling mechanism wasn't able to move through three hundred and sixty degrees. This means you can easily find yourself tangled up in your own fingers, your having to sacrifice a shot the only option.

An unbalanced diet

Hungribles's other great crime is that it bombards you from the get-go with different types of animals, different rules, and different ways of finishing a level. It feels like you're drowning in information, and the whole thing gets convoluted and confusing.

A couple of years ago, Futuremark Games Studio's game would have felt fresh and exciting, a clever, new way of blending quickfire action with complex puzzling. Now, though, it resembles a copy that just can't keep up with the game it so obviously apes.

In other words, it's just not as good as Angry Birds. Awww, dammit.
Reviewer photo
Harry Slater | 3 August 2011
A casual puzzle game that's clinging so tightly onto the coattails of Angry Birds that it can't help but fall short
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