Get ready for one of the most nonsensical, mustache-filled experiences you'll ever have with Zorbie. The Game Atelier's newest title is one of the craziest games out there, but does Zorbie's French/European craziness translate into fun?The story is simple: Zorbie has recently gotten out of prison and wants to eat as many birds as he can before the police catch him and haul his green mustachioed butt back to jail. From there, Zorbie grabs his axe and looks to the sky. The visuals are flashy and fun, with expressive sprite-work reminiscent of really good Nintendo DS games. Zorbie's one odd-looking guy, as is everyone else in this game. There are dopey birds, blank-faced men who'll let you ride them like horses and a fairy in drag who grants you upgrades.
The gameplay has you seeing how high you can get your score in the allotted time. Knock down birds with your throwing axe and eat them for points. Sometimes you'll also get points for eating other things, including the birds's very human-looking poop. As the game progresses, little anthropomorphic clock-men waddle across the screen. Hit them, and the game continues. And if not, you'll eventually run out of time and Zorbie will get taken back to prison. In addition to racing against the clock, Zorbie constantly has to avoid his own axe, which can fall to the Earth and kill him. Occasionally, other hazards will pop up, like the wizard who'll turn Zorbie into a worm, leading the birds to turn around and eat him.
Sometimes your mustache will temporarily level up and grant you flight. Sometimes you'll fight giant boss birds who look like they're short a couple of chromosomes. Sometimes a pigeon wanders in front of the camera and awkwardly obscures the action. In case you hadn't noticed, this is one wonderfully strange game. The pervasive weirdness of Zorbie has a smart cohesiveness to it, and gameplay-wise, it's oddly addictive to try to beat your high score. There are upgrades to acquire, so even the crappiest run leads to some sort of progress and the game's bizarre nature always leaves you laughing and wondering what'll be next.
Weirdly enough, this may be one game that controls better on the iPhone than it does on iPad. To make Zorbie walk to one end of the screen you simply hold your finger there; to get him to throw his axe, you hold your finger on him to gather momentum. This is fine in theory, but in execution it's difficult to have any precise movements on the iPad, which will sometimes get you killed by your own errant axe. The iPhone can still be difficult, but not as much.
It takes real brilliance to make something so wonderfully insane as Zorbie. Its progressive upgrades and zany nature are reminiscent of other great mobile titles like Punch Quest and any of the games by the Adventure Time people. If simple and weird is the way you like it, and you don't mind wrestling with the controls, then Zorbie might be ze thing for you.
App Store Link: Zorbie for iPhone & iPad | By Game Atelier | Price: $2.99| Version: 1.0.1 | 22.6 MB | Rating 9+