Whether it's my recent calcium deficient ways or my need to nurture, Cover Orange 2 took me by the hand and, even at this moment, refuses to let go. Sane folk will view it as a simple physics game aimed to protect fruit, and if you want it to exist on that plane then you won't be disappointed. I took one look at the white clouded title screen and for some reason, my mind wandered off into an entirely different place. Oranges were all I could think about.

For initiates to the Cover Orange series, the goal is to keep your oranges from getting smashed on the ground, exploded into tiny citrus bits, or getting drenched by an unforgiving acid rain cloud. Within each level, you are given various items that you must strategically place on the screen, and your hope is that the domino effect of this chain reaction will lead to a temporary shelter for the oranges. If the cloud passes by without sprinkling death raindrops on your cute friends, you've completed your mission and will move forward to the next level. As they seek shelter, a star will randomly pop up for a  couple of seconds. To boost your overall score, immediately tap the star before it vanishes.

With 120 puzzles in all, there is a ton of strategy and overall game play involved, and trust me, that's a good thing. Developers FDG Entertainment imbue the title with subtle nuances that definitely put a smile to my usually unresponsive and soul deadened face.

If this were a traditional story, one would assume the oranges are the heroes or featured attraction of the game. Since you're the one protecting them, they are highly emotional individuals. When a cloud approaches, they cower in fear, and when one of them flies off into fruit heaven, their friends whimper and cry. For an experience that should be forgettable fun, Cover Orange 2 aims for something a bit deeper. They may never cop to it, but just check out how an orange's death is handled. It doesn't splatter across the screen in pulp madness. No, these oranges fly off into the sky, and hopefully to a more tranquil destination.

Another genius stroke for Cover Orange 2 is the game's lack of getting on one's nerves. Even the more successful physics based puzzlers can get annoying when the challenge gets too interminable or when actual characters get under your skin. With its soothing and plaintive score, coupled with the humble demeanor of the oranges, the game is far from stressful. Even if it took me several minutes to solve one of the game's many mini-puzzles, I never wanted to give up.

The idea of shielding and protecting someone in need of assistance should always pull on the heart strings of the more sensitive gamer, and with Cover Orange 2 you're not really trying to solve anything at all. Its real mysteries lie in seeing how every little piece connects and forms an intricate life equation.

Even if you're not on some kind of New Age, kale shake infused trip while playing the game, you can still enjoy the puzzles. This ramp and moving stone wheel contraption is one of my favorites.

If a certain level has you stuck for an insane amount of time, you can always cheat. On the lower left portion of the screen are yellow hard hats which gives oranges protection from the rain. As much as I love this game, I did relent a few times just to get things moving. I don't regret my decision, especially since yellow on orange is tres chic.

I'm madly in love with Cover Orange 2, and that's a big deal coming from a commitment phobe. Its nature vs. nurture themes put me in a sentimental mood, and in a world filled with so many derivative apps, it's hard to generate real emotion for anything. I know you probably think I'm waxing poetic for something I can buy at the supermarket, but everyone needs a little love and protection. Especially during a cloudy day.


App Store Link: Cover Orange 2 for iPhone & iPad | By FDG Entertainment | Price: $0.99 | Version: 1.0 | 38.5 MB | Rating: 4+

8.5 out of 10 arcade sushi rating