If you’re looking for a beautiful platformer for the iPhone, then look no further: CreaVures is as lovely as they come, particularly if you have a certain affinity for the night. The game is set against the darkness of a nocturnal forest, with only dim sources of light to help guide you along your journey.
Perhaps the most interesting glow is that from the creatures– er, CreaVures themselves. Specifically, their glowing eyes are fairly alarming, but the friendlier sounds and mannerisms they display make them endearing overall. The atmosphere of the game comes together beautifully with a soothing soundtrack composed of mellow tunes and nocturnal sound effects.
You have the most beautiful eyes.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for a fun and engaging platformer for the iPhone, just keep on walking. Sad as it is to say, for as lovely as CreaVures looks, it’s not as fun to play. We wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s “bad” so much as it is just really, really dull.
The story itself makes your objective a little ironic; for as beautiful as the night and all that dwell within are, your goal is actually to collect enough of the little baubles of light to turn back the darkness and return the forest to its “luminescent grandeur.” This involves taking control of the CreaVure known as Bitey, and finding four other CreaVures to journey with you through the game’s five chapters, though you’ll only be controlling two at a time, and swapping between them in order to utilize their unique abilities.
Unfortunately, you don’t control your two chosen CreaVures simultaneously; rather than one following the other, like Sonic and Tails or Donkey and Diddy, you basically move one, then switch to move the other, occasionally using the skills of one or the other to allow both to proceed. And both must proceed together, as one cannot wander far from the other in many cases, which means you’ll be switching back and forth a lot and retreading the same ground.
Om nom nom.
That in itself might not be so bad, but the controls tend to be finicky, making something as simple as landing on a regular platform a bit of a trial– to say nothing of trying to land on narrow platforms. In addition, one might argue that the CreaVures have too many control options. Being able to duck and crawl can make simple left or right movement trickier than it should be, as we often found the digital D-pad registering either one alongside the down or up directions.
And sadly, even if the controls were perfect, it would likely only serve to highlight how dull the levels feel. Simply put, there isn’t a lot to do here. The game is billed as a puzzle platformer, but there really isn’t much to it: you see a pink orb, you have Bitey grab it with his teeth, sometimes letting another CreaVure swing across on his tail. You see what look like arrows sticking into a wall, and Pokey pulls some of his quills out and uses them to create a makeshift ladder to climb. There may be the odd bit of thorns or an enemy around, but once you’ve surmounted an obstacle, further instances of that obstacle only manage to feel repetitive.
We love what we see and hear of CreaVures, but what we’ve played? Not so much. It makes an excellent example of style over substance, where the mechanics of the game are simply unable to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with its aesthetic elements.