App of the day: Sewer Wars review (iPhone)
Sewer Wars - and we're talking about the underground pipes, not needle and thread - is a side-scrolling platform game that's all about fast reactions and staying afloat for as long as you can.
Despite the game sounding suggestive of those kinds of things we don't like to talk about much, there's not even a hint of gross-out material in this game. For Sewer Wars' survival style holds similarities to other app favourite Jetpack Joyride. With rats. And foam guns. Oh, and a moustachioed plumber type who - fortunately - does not resemble a certain Mario in any way.
Sewer Wars throws you in at the, ahem, deep end. It's your job to keep the rats and cats at bay, jump over gaps and keep on advancing through the seven levels for as long as you can hold out. Mess up and your lives will dwindle and it'll be game over and all the way back to the very start for a repeat session.
The ground flies forward in a conveyer belt style which leaves you free to focus on the simple controls: jump via a left tap of the screen and shoot via a right tap.
The two controls can be used in combination for high jumps or gap-dodging saves using a downward swipe that comes in handy as your skills develop. As there's no fiddly joypad movement the game feels fluid in response - it's down to you to become good and it is about reading advancing enemies and gaps to continue.
At the beginning of your quest three lives and a foam gun with four shots stand between you and success. But achieve certain goals - kill 10 rats, collect 100 foam ball (bullets), etc - and you'll be rewarded with coins that can be spent on upgrades. Extra lives per play, collectable lives, quicker reloading, greater gun capacity and ostrich rides - no, really - among plenty of others will assist in your progress.
Spend wisely and it will get easier to push through the handful of levels. But not easy by any means. As rats appear en masse and cats pop up with rocket launchers, it gets far tougher to stay alive. Then there are those gaps which spell game over if you happen to face-plant into the side of a wall - and that will happen all too often while trying to jump out of the way of a killer kitty in a super-tight catsuit.
Play isn't particularly long but - and much like JetPack Joyride - there's an achievement in buying into extra items, beating your previous high score and not dying repeatedly on level two. Short play is a perfect fit for an app-based game such as this.
There's definitely a tongue-in-cheek underlying humour to the game that keeps it light and entertaining. But, importantly, it's challenging too. And its bubbling with hand-drawn style that's more gorgeous than you'll even realise as levels fly by at pace.
Well worth its cover price.