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Creavures Review: A Gorgeously Rendered Game with Unfortunate Controller Deficiencies

Creavures is a recently released game for the iPhone and iPad by the folks at Chillingo, and while it boasts an amazingly impressive visual experience, it left me underwhelmed for a few reasons.

But first…

The setting places you in a dark forest world that is in need of sunlight. Five creatures—or CreaVures—are tasked with bringing back the sun, but they’ll have to work their way through an onslaught of puzzles and adventures with your help in order to make that happen. The way to success is by finding the random bits of particles of light hidden throughout the darkness and collecting them. At the end of each chapter, there is a battle with a boss character that you must endure in order to move on.

You’ll start the game as Bitey, a little creature who has the ability to jump and move to an astounding degree. From there, you’ll move on to Pokey, Rolly, Zappy, and Glidey, all of who’s abilities can generally be surmised to a certain degree just by looking at their names. Each of the five CreaVures has a specific and unique ability that you can utilize to aid in the quest, so it’s all about working as a team in order to be successful. From time to time, you can utilize two characters at once instead of swapping them out, so you’ll have to keep track of each character and which of their abilities would be best appropriate to use in specific situations, and how to best proceed further with each other.

While the game is billed as a puzzle-based platformer, I didn’t find the puzzles to be too difficult in the grand scheme of things. Sure, they were challenging here and there, but overall, I expected a little more difficulty than what I was given. This isn’t to say though, that the game is by any means easy and simple to use, but I’ll get to that later.

I want to first address the game’s biggest selling points, and those are the graphics. They’re amazing, to put it simply. The world is an incredibly fleshed out bioluminescent mixture of color and imagination, and it’s sure to amaze gamers upon first playing. Colors seemingly pop off of the screen as you move along while your characters dart from here to there. Which brings me to my next point: the game is rather smooth in terms of animation and rendering. I never once encountered any issues or lagging, and the scrolling animation appeared to move with the swiftness and grace of a Hollywood style steady cam.

This is where I begin to diverge from giving out compliments, though, as the controls were—at least for me—incredibly frustrating. You’re given a virtual D pad, but also the ability to utilize swipes for certain moves and techniques. This all seems pretty straight forward, but I had a lot of issues with the game assuming I was playing one move, when I was actually playing an entirely different one. I don’t know if I just wasn’t clear enough in my controlling (hard to figure out how to be any more clear), but I would frequently command the CreaVures to do something, yet they’d instead do another.

I also have to say that while the game is incredibly stunning in a visual sense, it was lacking in the way of variety. Puzzles were repeated in various forms throughout, and it got a little repetitive. At a certain point, it was easy for me to assume which challenge I’d be met with right around the corner, and I was often right on the money.

While I really want to give this game a high score due to its gorgeous art and visual experience, the physical control deficiencies were just too much for me to overlook. I found myself getting frustrated more with the game than my actual play, and it took away from what would have been an otherwise wonderful visual adventure.

The game sells for $.99, and if Chillingo is able to find out a way to fix the controlling issues (I found on a number of forums that I wasn’t the only one experiencing these frustrations), then I’d give it a solid score.

But for now…

Our score: 3 out of 5

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