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For: iPhone

Unpronouncable, but totally playable

Product: Ynth | Developer: Krabl | Format: iPhone | Genre: Platform, Puzzle | Players: 1 | Version: Europe | App version: 1.0
Ynth iPhone, thumbnail 1
It doesn't matter how many cute and cuddly movies Pixar makes about bugs, creepy crawlies will always be something of an annoyance. From those dank and dirty house spiders that dash across the carpet at night to the moths that flutter around every light fitting come winter, insects do a good job of getting on your nerves.

Ynth, thankfully, doesn't really go for that dainty Disney style when it comes to its star, a little red bug named Kribl. Instead, it presents a dark, almost uncomfortable world where our tiny friend has to use his head to stay alive.

Survival is a matter of traveling from one side of the bog to another, Kribl making his way through a series of squares and rectangles decked out like mazes. Progression comes from tipping these shapes over, touching on-screen buttons to direct him to a corner before pushing the block in question one way or the other.

The trouble is, these shapes come filled with hazards, blocks, and spiky balls. Some are within the mazes, while others fall from the sky ready to trap you or, worse yet, kill you flat. Play is about more than navigating across the swamps - it's also about manipulating the shapes so that any objects posing a threat are eliminated, namely by tipping them out and watching them sink into the bog.

It's the kind of puzzle that you can't get your head around until you actually get playing. Planning isn't really an option, partly because the whole of the level isn't visible from the start, but also because working out just how each and every object will react to your actions takes some getting used to. All too often you'll have your eyes fixed on a spiky ball, only to get flattened by a block mid-tip.

While keeping you on your toes is good fun, the punishment for failure is getting dumped at the start of the level. Some of these stages are quite lengthy and having to kick-off from the all the way back at start when you've made a mistake a couple of minutes down the line is incredibly frustrating. No doubt it's an intentional punishment, but one that's a little harsh.

Not only is it the actions themselves that can place you in peril, but also the timing of those actions. Even if you pull off the exact same move one try after another, the slightest difference in timing can lead to your box being invaded by a spiky ball dropping from the sky, completely changing the make-up of that particular run.

Any plans you might have had then go out of the window, and often your chances with it.

There's little warning given as to when these balls will drop (nothing more than a touch of dust from the ceiling), making level resets in stages where you appear to be fully in control commonplace. To be fair, Ynth would be nothing more than an interactive maze without these airborne hazards - a challenge that would soon sour.

Ynth is a game that has the potential to bug as much as it bamboozles. The fact that success brings such satisfaction makes these jarring moments a slightly unwelcome element in what is otherwise a solid, engrossing puzzler.
Reviewer photo
Keith Andrew | 2 September 2009
Brilliant when you get it right, but oh-so-aggravating when you don't, Ynth's maze-based puzzle play has the potential to keep you gripped for many an hour, should you have the patience
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