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For: iPhone

Chew on this

Product: Sticky | Developer: Gamistry | Publisher: Clickgamer | Format: iPhone | Genre: Action, Platform, Puzzle | Players: 1 | Networking: wireless (network) | Version: US | App version: 1.0
Sticky iPhone, thumbnail 1
Not every idea is great when it's first executed. The first chewing gum, for instance, consisted of tree sap and grasses gnawed by the ancients - a far cry from the tasty, sugary bubble gums and peppermint sticks sold today.

There was merit in that original idea, but it took fine-tuning before the concept became a hit. Sticky also has this spark of creativity, yet it lacks the attention to detail of a hit iPhone and iPod touch game.

A restrictive camera and too much randomness overshadow the game's charm and good ideas.

A boy and his blob

Sticky follows the adventure of a living energy blob crafted by Professor Bunsen and assistant Dr Globule. After a lab accident transforms Dr Globule into a maniacal villain, it's up to you to save the world by flinging the orange blob through dozens of stages filled with bad globs and obstacles.

A blend of physics and arcade platforming, each level tasks you with eliminating a certain number charcoal blobs before they exit the stage via a pipe. Allow too many blobs to escape and it's Game Over.

Preventing this means flinging Sticky so that it hits the black blobs, dissolving them out of existence. Sliding a finger opposite the desired direction of movement primes the fling, at which point you lift your finger and Sticky goes flying. Think Angry Birds, but you have as many shots as you like.

It's a stick up

It's a clever setup ripe for a side-scrolling platformer, yet Sticky opts for small enclosed levels. The emphasis is less on solving tricky situations and more on using power-ups and learning how to work with the surrounding environment.

For example, you can only adhere to orange glop, so levels with stone or metal surfaces limit your ability to manoeuvre. Special obstacles like wind tunnels influence movement in unpredictable ways, forcing you to plan moves carefully to avoid missing blobs and losing a level.

Neat power-ups include the ice gem that allows you to freeze enemies with a bounce and then tap with a finger to shatter their frozen bodies. There's the giant blob that enables you to roll over and squish enemies. The creativity of Sticky is clear, yet its ideas don't gel in a convincing way.

Power-ups, for instance, are often more a hindrance than a help. A super bounce power-up sends you pinging through a level, but you have no control after the initial aim.

Weird science

A zoomed-in perspective makes it hard to see enemies and control the action. Icons appear at the edges of the screen informing you of enemies elsewhere in the stage, though you can't be sure of their exact position, which makes hitting them difficult.

Worse still, using certain power-ups is made harder as a result of the camera. Trying to tap a frozen enemy after hitting it with the ice gem is tough when you can't even see it.

There's generally a sense that you get lucky and skill plays a bit part. In later levels, there's so much going on that the results of your action are unpredictable to the extend that you no longer feel it necessary to play carefully. Instead, you just bounce around hoping for fortune to finish the level.

These issues appear from inception and prevent Sticky from being the sort of success that its creativity warrants. By zooming out the view (alternately, incorporating camera controls or using the larger iPad screen) and tightening the balance between skill and luck so that you feel as though you're in control, Sticky can transform from a good idea into a great game.
Reviewer photo
Tracy Erickson | 16 February 2011
Sticky is full of great gameplay ideas hampered by a restrictive camera and a sense that luck overrides skill
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