I've come across a ton of surreal titles on my iPad, but When Ian Fell in the Machine takes the cake. Whether he is an actual human being is still up for discussion. All we know is he's a rolling head with an appetite for sausage. This meat fueled love leads to his inevitable demise, as he falls into a machine where death is the ultimate release. Don't let the downer intro spoil your adventure, as Ian's fall from grace is a fascinating thing to behold.

When Ian Fell in the Machine is an obvious homage to Rube Goldberg's intricately designed universe, as gamers must navigate our unlucky protagonist past metal traps and other contraptions that can only do him wrong. By tilting your respective device, you move Ian's head as he balances on beams and times his jumps to the next area of safety.

During his descent, silver and gold coins are available to collect, and these treasures usher in a huge strategic choice. If you attain over 300 meters of plummeting, you can unlock the medium level (the title starts you off on easy street). The other choice is to amass 500 coins to unlock the level, a process which will take more than several tries to accomplish.

Since dying can occur within seconds even in the simplest mode, focusing on one task is your best chance of surviving a few moments longer. If you're all about free falling into nothingness and hoping you don't smash into spiked metal, go the distance try to hit that magic number. Players who don't mind playing the waiting and collecting game will simply grab as many coins as possible before they die.

Upgrades are also available to lengthen Ian's time in this unforgiving world. The first addition to purchase is the sausage upgrade which, when finally tapped, will place a cute yellow hat atop Ian's bald dome. Initially I thought the hat was simply for show, and I went about my business dodging danger until the hat disappeared. During another play through with the hat, I summoned up the courage to meet my steeled enemies head on, and the subsequent collision yielded a shower of gold coins.

A head that's haphazardly traveling to impending doom, with only the promise of sausage and a few coins in its final moments, is a plotline I'd expect from a David Lynch film or a twisted, abstract Twilight Zone episode, and even after all this extensive play I still can't connect the dots. But maybe that's the point, as developer Richard Bawden encourages us to laugh as well as engage in its inherent absurdity. Just to actually give a second thought to a tilting based app merits praise, since part of the joy of When Ian Fell In The Machine is that the questions may never be answered. Such is the life of sausage lovers.

My love for When Ian Fell in the Machine also stems from my personal obsession with sausage. During my obese, high blood pressure ridden thirties, I would travel to my favorite breakfast joint and order a potato drenched sausage burrito. As I currently sit eating a few blueberries mixed in with way too much oatmeal, I drift back to my halcyon eating days.

Even then I knew I was falling into an addictive place of almost no return, and though I probably died a thousand caloric deaths, I still wanted to tap that sausage. Now it's Ian's turn to eat a few links before he meets his maker. I'm just here for the show.


App Store Link: When Ian Fell in the Machine for iPhone & iPad | By Richard Bawden | Price: $0.99 | Version: 41.3 MB | Rating 9+

7.5 out of 10 arcade sushi rating