The physics-puzzler, along with perhaps the endless runner, are the two most prevalent genres of game inside the App Store. They are just everywhere. And Chillingo is not shy about either. One could argue that Chillingo's strategy is much like the thinking behind start-up Internet companies.
Namely, to flood the market with options and hope that one or two of them turn out to be hitS. With its immediately noticeable similarity to several other titles out there, Cling Thing certainly fits into this mix. To be honest, I booted it up with a bit of a, "do we really need another one of these types of games?" chip on my shoulder.
It wasn't long before Cling Thing was starting to win me over, in large part due to the fact that Cling Thing is pretty darn polished. Chillingo knows how to get the most out of its developers when it needs to, and everything here is presented in a well-made fashion, from the solid physics gameplay to the shiny art style and fun music.
But that didn't change the fact that, at first, I was struck by how Cling Thing looked and felt a whole lot like World of Goo -- in my opinion, still one of the best iOS games you can play. In addition to an overall sense of tone, there's specific things as well, such as the vacuum tunnel, that seem more than a little similar.
Cling Thing deviously repurposes much of that game's mojo and re-mixes it in just the right way to be something else. But there's more here as well, which started to make itself evident the more levels I flung my way through.
In Cling Thing, you take control of a sticky, one-eyed little rubber ball monster that has tentacles you can fire out in different directions. The point of every level is to navigate your little rubber ball monster from one end of the screen to the next, using the tentacles to swing around the stage, collecting stars and avoiding danger.
There are specific areas in each stage, indicated by a splotch of blue goop, where you can fire and latch on with your tentacles. Part of the puzzle is figuring out the best way to connect the dots, as it were, and string together the right combo of tentacle shots. You will notice elements and ideas from a lot of other high profile games incorporated as well, everything from Angry Birds to Cut the Rope to a game called, you guessed it, Tentacles.
There are four chapters in Cling Thing, each with 24 levels. In order to unlock chapters 2-4, you will have to collect a set number of stars, which you can get in every level. It's not hard to work your way towards this goal, but Chillingo has smartly offered the option to unlock all the chapters right away via an in-app purchase.
They have also smartly decided to make this the only in-app purchase in the game, which is a nice break from the deluge of microtransactions found in many new titles. As you progress, the later levels will introduce new gameplay elements that involve moving objects with the tentacles and using more than one finger at the same time.
Cling Thing won't blow you away with originality. But it's hard to dispute that this is a solid, well made little title that pays homage to a lot of other titles, and makes something of its own out of it all. Anyone who's a fan of this kind of game will definitely get a lot of value out of Cling Thing.