Catch The Ark centers on the adventures of Titan, Boon, and Zuzu, three animals who have been abandoned by Noah's Ark. With a world beating flood behind them, the trio hop on a raft and try to catch up with Noah. But life in the jungle isn't easy, as crocodiles, octopi, and even dinosaurs are looking to eat our intrepid heroes. The game starts off with a brief animated segment, but once they hit the water, this dizzying endless runner doesn't give you pause for thought.
Don't even worry about the tutorial, since controlling the raft requires either touching the left or ride side of your device. The three hearts on the upper right side of the screen signifies the animals, and when all three meet their demise the game is over. Upgrades, as with most Chillingo titles, are purchased by accruing gold coins along the quest. Although power-ups are worthy and logical buys, saving your coins is also a sound strategy, especially if you want to upgrade your raft into a boat. Power-ups are also available during the game, and whether it's gaining the ability to eat sharks or jet above water for several seconds, they are definitely a must grab during your missions.
A nice little twist to the game is Noah really doesn't want these critters aboard his crowded ride, and he drops exploding red barrels down their path to keep them at bay. It's not a very charitable thing to do, but maybe Noah's really into population control. Dodging these annoying suckers, even hours into the game, is still one of Catch The Ark's more challenging moments.
Along with the its deliriously fast pace, Catch The Ark succeeds in giving players a focused view of their missions. To advance to the next level, three different tasks must be completed, and it's important to read each specific job one needs to accomplish. One task during a level requires players to end their game within the first 500-700 meters of entering the water. By not paying attention to the fine print, I was stuck on the same level for 45 minutes. I'm assuming you're smarter than I am, but definitely pay attention to the menu.
My only complaint lies in the lack of variability within each succeeding level. As much as I dig the pure adrenaline rush of racing through the jungle and side stepping crocodiles at the last possible second, the rhythm and overall excitement factor wanes after 10-15 minutes of game play. The huge draw of continuing Catch The Ark for up to an hour is earning enough coins for the boats, so if you're an upgrade junkie then you won't be disappointed.
Catch The Ark starts off with a ton of promise thanks to its opening animated sequence, and it's an exciting enough adventure to keep you entranced for the first 10-15 minutes. Whether this game will be one of my top iPad purchases within the next year is highly doubtful, especially since I need a little bit more than a pure rush to the system. But it's a new year, and living in the present isn't such a bad thing. So if tracking down biblical icons on a raft is your cup of tea, I'm not going to hate.