App of the day: The Croods review (iPhone and Android)
Rovio, the studio behind the much-loved Angry Birds, has now applied a bit of its magic touch to a movie tie-in app. The Croods app, which launched alongside the Dreamworks-produced animation, is rather good.
As you would expect from a Rovio title, The Croods has that same addictiveness that make the rest of its mobile games so good. Irritatingly, it is marred a touch by a price-heavy freemium approach. But stick at it, without indulging in in-app purchases. and you still have a very good app on your hands. Read on to find out why.
Just like the movie, the Croods app is all about the beginnings of civilisation. Your job is to set things up for the prehistoric settlers, build them a community and keep them ticking over, SimCity style.
You play a hunter-gatherer charged with settings traps, catching animals and then feeding them up to help grow your community. Each of the animals you capture acts like a Tamagotchi. You have to grow food to feed them, plant new crops to change their diet and, over the course of time, watch them evolve.
Controls are simple and revolve around the basic premise of tapping to plant or to place and then feeding different animals and objects to make them grow. It reminds us a touch of Plants vs Zombies and shouldn't be beyond younger app players.
Crops play a big part in changing how your civilisation turns out. Each one produces a different type of food, which you keep in your stores. Feed them to animals and you can in turn expand your farm land. The result is a constantly changing and evolving miniature village, which you can tend on your smartphone whenever you fancy.
The app behaves not unlike Farmville and The Simpsons Tapped Out combined. As such, things get pretty in-app purchase friendly fairly quick. Virtually everything in the game has some sort of timer attached to it. Pay money and that timer will disappear.
Just as with any freemium app, you simply don't need to pay for things if you don't want to. Your prehistoric civilisation might not grow quite as quick, but it will get there in the end. The difference here is that waiting is just little bit too long.
Freemium issues aside, fans of The Croods movie will enjoy this app. Rovio has put together a nice little movie tie-in here and - even if you aren't fussed about the film - an addictive city sim.