Critter Escape has a simple premise with enough subtle complications to keep it endlessly entertaining/frustrating, but some of the mechanics make it lean more towards the frustrating. It wasn’t for me, but I can see how a certain type of mindset would obsess over the structure and possibilities of the game.

You are a critter escaping from a science lab. To move your critter around the corners, you draw a line from the critter and it will follow that path. You can always stop midway by tapping the screen. However, this basic mechanic was annoying to me. You can’t see far enough ahead of the critter to choose an intelligent path, so you end up stop/starting more than anything. There should be a way to scan ahead without marking a path, although I guess you can scan as far as you want and then just cancel it before the critter goes anywhere.

Critter Escape

These laboratories require stealth and strategy. Guards walk around in paths so you can easily plan to stay out of their eyesight. Later levels introduce elements like ooze panels that open when you walk over them. I’ve got to admit, it’s kind of fun leading guards over ooze panels and watching them sink into the green gunk.

You can collect power-ups depending on what each level lays before you. Speed lets you run away from guards pretty fast (or make a beeline right to the exit). Invisibility lets you slink right by the guards since they can’t see you. And you’ll take the most pleasure out of the juice that temporarily hulks you out so you can beat up the guards. Each level also has a gem located somewhere that you can collect before you escape for an extra achievement.

Critter Escape

Shortly in the first set of levels, Critter Escape introduces the goal of rescuing other critters. So in addition to escaping, you may want to trace a path over the cages holding other critters captive. Of course, once you have mini critters following you, they are also susceptible to capture and blowing your cover. More obstacles keep getting introduced and presumably they could always add more levels and baddies as extra content.

If you’re a completist, you’ll want to rescue every critter and get the gem on every level. If you’re frustrated you may just race to the exit and forget about the poor critters in cages. It's every critter for himself!

Critter Escape

The graphics are cute but kind of ugly. Way too many dank brown levels before any color comes in. The sound is nice and cartoony. I was just annoyed by the controls and too frustrated to try to 100% each level, even when I saw the path to do it. I usually just hightailed it to the exit. I wasn't patient enough to go for 100% completion on each stage, but perhaps some gamer out there will take the time to do just that. I was just too annoyed by the game's clunky execution to bother.


App Store Link: Critter Escape for iPhoneiPad | By Chillingo Ltd | Price: $0.99 | Version: 1.0 | 72.9 MB | Rating 9+

5.5 out of 10 arcade sushi rating