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For: iPhone

Not just hot air

Product: Ozone | Publisher: Meridian | Developer: Geardome | Format: iPhone | Genre: Platform | Players: 1 | Version: Europe | App version: 1.0.1
Ozone iPhone, thumbnail 1
With its airy gameplay, Ozone tries to assert itself as an artful game.

But just because something's pretty, doesn't mean it's art. Try as it might, Ozone isn't art, but it is a good game.

The idea is to guide a bubble of air around increasingly complex levels, picking up what can only be described as little sparks of electricity along the way. To that extent, Ozone is inspired by puzzlers and platformers of old, serving up their smarts in brand new clothes.

Full of puff

And they are very nice clothes too. Ozone is all about minimalism - levels stripped back to the bare essentials – walls to keep you in, hazards to keep you wary, and anything non-essential chucked in the waste bin.

As such, you guide a ball of air around each level using a virtual directional pad. The controls centre around puffing the air out of the bubble to set it in motion, each move you make draining it of its aerated lifeblood.

The trick is to use as little air as you can as you make your way around. Should your bubble drain out, it's game over, so managing to skirt around the mazes with as little input as possible is key.

Bouncing off the walls – which sounds a subtle tone that adds to game's sublime soundtrack - is the most common way to keep the momentum going, but Ozone also urges caution.

Tools of the trade

That's because enemies aplenty adorn each level and almost all are unavoidable with changes of direction. The sparks needed to complete each level are boxed in by enemies, which must be carefully eliminated or entirely circumvented.

Exploration and patience form the backbone of the game.

Many hazards such as retracting spikes and shooting cannons can be combated by simply biding your time, noting the pattern, and blowing your bubble through when the path is clear.

Weapons are also on offer, some making your bubble indestructible for set periods, others enabling you to fire back or expel air to fit through narrow corridors.

Familiar path

Variety is, without doubt, one of Ozone's major strengths.

Developer Geardome's ability to take a puzzler that could so easily have become by-the-numbers and turn it into an all-in-one guide to some of gaming's greatest hits is admirable. And the fact it can be played and enjoyed by almost anyone within minutes is crucial.

With bags of style and no hint of pretension, Ozone might not settle the age old art question, but it's about as pure as gaming gets.
Reviewer photo
Keith Andrew | 7 May 2010
Ozone has one of the simplest set ups around, but delivers past glories to serve up a puzzler-cum-platformer of real merit
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Anonymous | 23:34 - 12 May 2010
Great app, brilliant !