APP OF THE DAY: Whale Trail review (iPhone)
Pocket-lint has to admit - or rather this particular Pocket-linter - to not having heard of ustwo before. And looking at the company's work to date, it doesn't appear there's been a great deal of commercial success.
And on first glance, Whale Trail, our App Of The Day, didn't seem to be anything out of the ordinary; just another pretty, over-cute iPhone game that might prove popular to a certain crowd. However, appearances can be deceptive, as what we have here is a very nice effort, which not only ticks the all-important commercial boxes for developer ustwo, but is also playable, pretty, and, eh... particularly addictive.
This highly stylised and polished game has clearly been influenced by previous successful iPhone games, such as Tiny Wings. This is not to say, however, that it's not original - there are plenty of innovative ideas - but the simple gameplay, controls and sound are nothing if not reminiscent.
Game mechanics are simplicity itself: pressing and holding anywhere on the screen makes the whale rise, whilst releasing brings about a swooping action - the aim being to collect bubbles in order to fuel your flight.
As you move on through the levels bubbles become more scarce and your flying skills will need to improve. Nice elements include frenzy mode which makes your whale invincible, enabling you to smash through the dark clouds - these suck away your bubble fuel in order to curtail your flight - and high speed boosts enable you to go where no whale has gone before.
The game has a nice easy flow to it, making it accessible to all; and whilst its focus on high scores should ensure its appeal to those who take their games seriously, those who want to play for the fun of it are catered for too. And fun it certainly is: Whale Trails visuals make playing very appealing, all working well with the perky sound track.
If truth be told, we don''t really have any quibbles with Whale Trail apart from the fact it's a little bit frilly and cute for our particular taste, but then it will hold wide appeal for the majority; and that is, in the end, the name of the game.