When we first saw the game Inkvaders, we said that we were still looking for the definitive side-scroller on the iPhone. However, in our review of the game, we were disappointed. After playing Crosak, we’re a little more hopeful. Despite some oversights, the game successfully implements some features missing in similar titles.
At a glance, some may mistake this side-scroller for a more active platformer, due to the timer and enemies that pop out of the background. The equivalent of prehistoric venus fly traps will sometimes drop down to eat anything in their way, while evil and somewhat stupid cavemen throw stones at you from behind mini-forts. This attention to detail is something we particularly liked about Crosak.
Surrounded by miniature velociraptors.
Level design also adds a level of strategy to the game. Those who expect they can simply run through levels, whacking their trusty bone or throwing hammers, will quickly go extinct. You must time jumps and sprints just right so that dinosaurs get crushed by boulders or fall into pits instead of you. Simply killing as many enemies as you can isn’t enough.
After each level, you must fight off a boss looming in the background. One of them, a colossal turkey, will peck its beak down into the ground. Once it gets stuck you must smack it, rinse and repeat. There’s also a boulder-throwing stone monster and the monkey priest leader of the evil caveman tribe. The progressive nature of these boss battles kept the pace up until we took down our last foe.
As you beat the preset offline scores, new accessories are unlocked for you to dress up your character. Some examples of these comical costumes include a rustic caveman, or a beach bum. Beating the highest offline scores provides an extra challenge for completists.
Crosak has some great 3D graphics as well. The detailed environments, distinct animations, and attention to detail are very impressive. Falling boulders will show a shadow before crushing you, plants and stone-throwing cavemen wake up before attacking, and falling into lava shows you slowly burning as you sink.
Crosak’s major setback is how short it is. While each level’s length feels just right, there are only three of them, and three boss battles. You can also play any level, including boss fights, from the get-go in free play mode, which makes the game feel completed before you’ve even played it. While some replay value is added by unlocking accessories, the average gamer will be done with the game in about an hour, tops.
It is also important to note that there is online scoring; however, it only shows the top 10 scores. We feel the game would benefit from a more widespread social platform, with achievements and leaderboards.
Crosak may be short, but for only $0.99 it is among the best simple side-scrolling games currently available on the App Store. We recommend you try it.