Snail Bob

I’m glad I gave Snail Bob a chance. When I first started playing it I thought it was so easy it was boring. I mean, I would have been forgiving to a game for kids, but I need to not have considered showing Snail Bob charity. Lucky for me it proved to be mighty fun and a stimulating challenge, if not a total brain stumper.

There are minimal controls involved in Snail Bob. It’s more of a thinking game, but your reflexes will be called upon sometimes. Bob the snail pretty much crawls on his own. You only need to tap him to stop before he crawls off a ledge or something. Each board has various obstacles that you can manipulate with your touch to clear a path for Bob. Bob may die, but he’ll come back to try again and again until you clear the level.

Snail Bob is reminiscent of the old Lemmings game, where the lemmings would just move continuously and all you had to do was set up barriers to direct them. Snail Bob is both a little simpler and a little more intricate than that. It’s simpler because the boards are smaller, pretty much only one static screen except for a few special levels. It’s more complicated though because now we have to think about all the physics and mechanics that are commonplace in iOS games.

Snail Bob

Each level features a sequence of Rube Goldberg contraptions to navigate. It’s easy enough to turn a dial to move a barrier out of Bob’s way. It takes a bit more vision to see that you have to pump air into the balloon before you lower the block and release the boulder. This will all make sense once you play Snail Bob. Or, if you’re a fan of puzzle gaming, you’re already used to thinking this way. At one point in Snail Bob you’re sawing trees and sacrificing other snails to spiders.

Snail Bob has an interesting take on three-starring a level. Most puzzle games award stars for completing a level as fast as possible or with the most possible points. Snail Bob actually buries the stars in the screen. You actually have to locate the stars and tap them. One of them is always obvious, one is often uncovered through a series of moves, and damned if one isn’t so hidden in the background you’re squinting at your iPhone like an old issue of Highlights magazine. I like it, because with Angry Birds stars for example, I kind of beat myself up if I suck too much to earn three stars. With Snail Bob I know the stars are hidden there somewhere for me to find.

Snail Bob

The graphics and sound are up to the high standards of puzzle gaming to date. The environments are bright, colorful and beautiful. The game music is catchy and hummable without distracting you from the mission at hand.

I was going to write off Snail Bob but now it became a game I was determined to finish, and I eagerly await new levels in the updates. The controls are easy enough for a kid to play, but the intellectual challenge will stimulate grown-ups, who can then ask the kid to help them when they get stuck on a level.

 

Store Link: Snail Bob for iPhone or iPad | By Chillingo |Price: $0.99 | Version: 1.0.1 |  217 MB | Rating 4+
7.0 out of 10 arcade sushi rating