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Retro Pocket: Escape From Whale

For: iPhone
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Smells a bit fishy to us

Product: Retro Pocket: Escape From Whale | Publisher: UFO Interactive Games | Format: iPhone | Genre: Party/ mini- games | Players: 1 | Version: Europe | App version: 1.2
 
Retro Pocket: Escape From Whale iPhone, thumbnail 1
For many developers, iOS has offered an exciting and rewarding way to get their creations noticed by millions of players all over the world.

For others, it's just a way to make money from past failures. Retro Pocket: Escape From Whale falls neatly into the latter camp, thanks to its status as a small part of a Nintendo DSiWare compilation released back in May.

On Nintendo's handheld, Retro Pocket was a collection of eight titles based almost entirely on the classic Game & Watch range of LCD portables, famous in the years before the Game Boy came along and revolutionised the way we play games on the move.

A whale of a time

Given that the DSiWare release was something of a disappointment, carving the eight games up into individual downloads for iOS feels a little too much like a fool's errand to us. As a single whole, Retro Pocket was weak and derivative - separated, the games are even more underwhelming.

Escape From Whale is a thinly-disguised copy of the Game & Watch title Octopus, and while it provides a few minutes of relatively engaging entertainment its shallow nature soon becomes painfully evident.

You have to move from one side of the screen to collect a baby from the mouth of a whale on the other, while avoiding the attentions of malevolent pelicans and the whale's water spout.

Once you've returned to your boat and deposited the aforementioned infant, the process begins anew. Losing all of your lives means totting up your score and trying to best it with another attempt. Game A is normal difficulty, while Game B offers a sterner challenge.

Here, fishy fishy

And that's it - there really is nothing else to report. Escape From Whale controls well enough, looks relatively appealing, and sounds authentically old skool, but it lacks the tactile charm of the original Game & Watch titles.

While you might absent-mindedly play the original Octopus purely to get an impression of what mobile gaming used to mean in the '80s, Escape From Whale is just a weak facsimile which doesn't have that genuine vintage feel.

Had developer UFO Interactive compiled all eight of the games into a single app then we might have been more forgiving, but as separate downloads these games are hopelessly vapid.
 
Retro Pocket: Escape From Whale
Reviewer photo
Damien McFerran | 26 June 2013
An ill-judged homage to Nintendo's Game & Watch title Octopus, Escape From Whale is overpriced and painfully basic
 
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