Crytek, the developers of the Crysis franchise and the boundary pushing CryEngine, have finally made their way to the App Store with their very first game. This game is Fibble, and my, oh my, is it the last thing you’d expect from these particular developers.
Rather than some kind of action game with never before seen graphical fidelity for the platform, we’ve got a cartoony physics based puzzle version of mini-golf involving a tiny alien and his alien friends as they move through the rooms of a house. This isn’t to say the game is bad by any means. It’s just unexpected.
The gameplay itself is pretty solid. Just pull back on the Fibble and release to launch him around a track to be pushed and bounced about, eventually landing in the exit hole. The real puzzle elements come in to play when you have to place your various alien friends on marked spots on the track, and it’s up to you to figure out which one goes where. You’ve got your manhole cover alien that bounces you upward, a tentacle alien that lets you change directions, a leaf blower alien that gives you big time speed, and a hanging trapeze artist alien that swings and throws you around. You’ve got to be in range of each alien to activate it, and do so with a simple tap.
You have three tries to complete a level, and must use another life if you ever come to a complete stop. Each level is full of coins and three collectible stars to pick up, as well as special keys that unlock bonus levels. You’re also awarded bronze, silver, and gold medals. You’ll usually need to reach a particular score using only one fling, or life, in order to get that gold rating. I like the concept behind the game, and it has a lot going for it, but wow is it an easy game. There’s nothing really wrong with that, and I’m sure this is a great game to download for your kids. Heck, even though it was easy, I had some fun playing it myself, but still, there is very little challenge to be had here, so if challenge is what you’re after, stay away from this one.
Although the textures themselves may be cartoony and not very detailed, there is a lot of detail to be found in the environments. Each level has tons of oversized items surrounding each track, whether they’re tools or food or dishes or desk items or anything else. The charming aesthetics are definitely a good fit for this platform, which is why Crytek went in this direction, I’m sure. The cut scenes linking each room of the house together are well done and have an almost Pixar kind of look to them, but without the heart crushing emotional manipulation that Pixar is famous for, of course. I definitely wouldn’t call this game of the week material myself, but it’s a solidly made game that is definitely great for younger audiences. At the time of this review, Fibble is available for two dollars on the iPhone, and for five dollars on the iPad. Game Center leaderboards are supported.