APP OF THE DAY: Contre Jour HD review (iPad / iPhone)

Ever since Angry Birds, everybody has been looking for the "next Angry Birds". Even Angry Birds developer Rovio has struggled to find the "next Angry Birds" with its next Angry Birds - Angry Birds Seasons and Angry Birds Rio. And if that opening statement isn't the most SEO'ed in living history, we'll eat our Angry Birds merchandised hats.

Chillingo, the company who released the original iPhone and iPad versions of Angry Birds, has come damn close to attaining the coveted acclaim for several of its iOS games, with none closer than its latest... 

Contre Jour HD

Format
iPad / iPhone 4 (iPhone 3GS version also available)
Price
£1.99
Where
iTunes

Drawing on the strength of the iPad (and retina display-touting iPhone 4) Contre Jour HD is a game that uses both a sumptuous graphical style and touchscreen controls to maximum advantage. If we were to describe its gameplay in comparative terms, it's like the software house's other A-lister Cut The Rope run in reverse, with a dash of Bumpy Road, World of Goo and PS3 fave Loco Roco thrown in. The graphics are even Loco Roco-like, but in black and white/shilouette, Limbo style (indeed, contre jour, in French, means "against daylight"). In short, it is the greatest homage to platform puzzling available for the iPad today.

You control a blob that mainly consists of just an eye (named Petit), but not directly. Instead, you manipulate the jelly-esque ground at its feet to move it in a specific direction, and there are numerous tentacles scattered around each level which can be attached in order to swing or spring the wee fella to points you'd like him to pass.

Each level features three bonus scoring points, represented by little blue, glowing lights, and for a perfect score, you should collect them all. But the ultimate aim is to ensure that Petit reaches a undetermined exit (a larger blue haze) without falling off the screen entirely or being munched by one of the many traps.

If you think eye blob equals sweety, and exit equals Om Nom, you get the idea.

The fun comes in trying to work out paths and routes through the levels. Some tentacles are like bungy ropes and will bounce Petit from area to area, some are like vines. The landscape also comes into play a lot, with the creation of a quick bump in a path allowing the main character to leap over obstacles. Essentially, it's a game of trial and error, that greatly rewards those who are most persistent.

There are 60 levels to traverse, which range from easy to mind-numbingly difficult, but they all share one thing in common; that they are beautiful to look at.

Contre Jour HD is one of those games that work so well on the iPad or iPhone 4, and we cannot recommend it highly enough. There's even a cheaper version, with lower resolution graphics for owners of 3GS devices, so there's no excuse not to check it out.