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iPhone  header logo

Skipping Stone

For: iPhone

Bobbing along on the beautiful briny sea

Product: Skipping Stone | Developer: Gamevil | Publisher: Gamevil | Format: iPhone | Genre: Arcade | Players: 1 | Version: Europe | App version: 1.0
Skipping Stone iPhone, thumbnail 1
Mobile games are often criticised – often by those who don’t play them – for being shallow, forgettable experiences, designed for people either incapable of playing a ‘proper’ game, or too lazy to do so.

It’s fair to say that Skipping Stone will provide the detractors with more ammunition, but, like other games that embrace the pick-up-and-play nature of iOS gaming, it’s the kind of game you’ll keep returning to long after comparatively ‘full fat’ titles have been played and returned to the shelf forever.

Skim deal

You control an anthropomorphic yellow stone, whose only ambition in life is to bounce off the surface of a seemingly endless ocean as long as he possibly can. This you achieve by tapping the screen just about anywhere as his underside slaps against this stretch of brilliant blue.

And that really is about all there is to it. Timing, of course, is everything, but from first to last all you'll be doing is tapping the screen as stone hits surf.

Skipping Stone is mindless entertainment, but it’s mindless entertainment done brilliantly. There’s a purity of purpose here – tap 'Start' and you’re straight into the action. No extraneous menus, no alternative options, nothing else whatsoever.

Better the pebble you know

The only time a menu will appear is if you pause or you’re interrupted by a push notification from another game. At which point, rather than plunging you straight back in, a three-count begins, allowing you to prepare for your next tap.

This is a thoughtful touch, as are the markers that show you the scoreboard position you’ve just achieved as you pass them.

Naturally, the object is not just to keep your stone bouncing, but ensuring you do so with style. You’re graded for each tap, with a meter that depletes for poorly-timed skips or complete misses, and refills when you get into the groove and hit three with perfect timing.

The game also does its best to disrupt your rhythm, obscuring the stone with clouds, allowing octopuses to break the surface, and even hitting you with lightning to slow your descent. A fish will occasionally grab you between its jaws, bringing you back down much quicker.

It’s surprisingly tricky, then, though you can spend the coins you’ve earned from previous runs on items to help you beat your previous record.

One revives you with full health when you fail, while another cuts your fall speed. Further power-ups can be collected by hitting the water with great timing or better when a box appears.

Rock sea music

The sheer force of the game’s bouncy presentation carries it a long way. It’s bright, colourful, and runs smoothly, while the jaunty soundtrack is so consistently upbeat it’s impossible not to warm to it.

The frequent squeals and yelps of your stone somehow manage not to irritate too much, and some neat graphical touches – just look at the hero’s face as he’s struck by lightning or gobbled by a fish – will raise the odd chuckle, too.

Shallow? Forgettable? Guilty as charged. But when you’re having as much fun as Gamevil’s latest provides, who cares?
Skipping Stone
Reviewer photo
Chris Schilling | 20 June 2011
A throwaway bit of fluff that nonetheless entertains for every minute you play it
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