I love playing games, and I love winning, but I am not the type of person who has to always win or else I throw a fit, the phone, the controller, or the person sitting next to me. I usually keep a semi-cool head when it comes to games, but Sphoxie got the best of me, turning me into an elemental embodiment of fury. I was so angry I wanted to punch the game in its hypothetical face. I don't enjoy saying that, but I really didn't enjoy this game either.

Let's start at the beginning: Sphoxie is about "little dude," a spiked ball who gets sucked through a portal and into a land full of cubes. You have to help little dude find his way back home by rolling through various kinds of courses eating all the yellow and red cubes and looking for the exit. All the levels are timed and you get a star rating based on how many cubes you ate and the time it took you to finish. All of the levels are suspended in air, so you have to be careful not to fall off the path lest you fall down to who knows where, putting you at the very beginning of the level and penalizing your time to boot.

Right off the bat I experienced game breaking glitches. The first time I fell off the course, I fell for a few seconds then all the blue skies turned to black and it looked like I fell into the part of outer space where no one and no thing dares venture (as seen above). I kept waiting for little dude to get reset, but he never did. He kept falling with the timer ticking away. This happened repeatedly. The only way I could fix it was to completely get out of the game and come back to reload the level.

Just when I thought I'd beaten the level, the game glitched out and told me I didn't.

Another glitch I experienced that really chapped my ass was after all the hard work I put into beating a level (and it is hard, more to come below), the exit gate wouldn't work. I would finally see the exit gate and breath a sigh of relief as I rolled into it and then...nothing. Little dude would sit there with the "door" closed like a cool kid party was going on behind it, and there was no way he was getting in. This also happened repeatedly, and I tried all kinds of things to maybe spark it into opening but the only cure was to close down the game, come back, reload, and do the level from the beginning hoping that it would be open if and when I got there again.

Just when I thought I'd beaten the level, the game glitched out and told me I didn't.

The above mentioned glitches might not have been such a big deal if the game wasn't so darn difficult due to the sloppy controls and the ridiculous in-game physics. All you have to do is swipe the screen in the direction you want little dude to move and he would roll that way. Easy enough, except that it was hard to get him to go very fast. The instant you took your finger off the screen he would almost come to a complete stop, and your finger was always getting in the way of your vision. I tried switching to the joystick controls and it was even worse. It was stationed in one spot and if your finger wasn't precisely in the middle of the circle, it didn't recognize your movement, resulting in little dude falling off, missing the platform, etc.

The in-game physics are not properly balanced. A lot of the levels have moving platforms, and you have to be moving in the same direction or it will throw you off. Most of the platforms moved faster than little dude could, causing him to tumble off no matter how hard or fast I moved my finger. The platforms also moved in different directions, so you constantly have to switch directions quickly and get a running start or else you're going down, either to the beginning of the level, since there are no checkpoints, or down into a glitched, inescapable state.

A couple of good points about this game are. the music, which is nice and soft, oh, and little dude is pretty cute as well.

Sphoxie is a good idea, it just needs to be tweaked and developed a little longer before anyone can enjoy playing it. I honestly would have deleted the game after the second level if I weren't reviewing it. The physics and controls make the game annoyingly difficult, and then there's no guarantee the exit will work if you ever get there. The game could be enjoyable if these things were modified to actually work, but as of right now this is all I have to say: Sphoxie, Sphoxie, Sphoxie, oh how I loathe thee.


App Store Link: Sphoxie for iPhone & iPad | By Olivier Archer | Price: $1.99 | Version: 1.0 | 94.3 MB | Rating 4+

1.0 out of 10 arcade sushi rating