Electric Tentacle defies description. It’s a game about a floating panda and his other animal friends who are on a constant journey through a wild landscape made up of abstract enclosures that try to trap you. The panda and his friends are on the run from nanobots, purple machines with mouths and sharp teeth. It’s a dark world, but it’s also full of stars. Behind it all, there is the crackling glow of electricity, which gives you the power to do anything.
This is a high-score game. There is no ending. You run and run until the nanobots catch you or you can’t keep up. Your animal avatar floats on screen, and by tapping on the screen you create a string of electricity that pulls your animal along. The electricity isn’t a direct link; it’s more like pulling something on a string towards you. You have a limit to how much electricity you can use at once, and when your battery runs low, you have to give it a moment before you can use it again.
The more you play Electric Tentacle, the more you can unlock. Collected stars are added to your bank, and you can use them to buy power-ups or upgrade abilities. For instance, you can increase the number of animals you control at once. Being in command of more animals means you’re likely to survive for a longer period of time, but its also more difficult to safely guide them all.
You can also increase your power to kill nanobots if their mouths are open. You can upgrade this ability to cause the nanobot to explode and take nearby bots with him.
You can also spend stars to continue playing once you’ve died. You only get three continues per game, and they will definitely cost you. Electric Tentacle is a great coach, as it urges you to keep playing and beat your last high score. You can even add friends via Facebook and see their scores as well.
It’s difficult to find anything wrong with a game this fun. It’s even a universal app, so you only need one purchase to play on your iPod touch, iPhone, and iPad. Our only disappointment right now is that the game is not optimized for the larger screen of the iPhone 5. We’d love to see the extra screen space on this game, and we hope to see it in an update sometime down the road.
Electric Tentacle is addictive, without a doubt: what starts as a quaint little game about floating animals grows on you, since your desire to get a high score is matched with your need to upgrade all your abilities. While the game starts with the panda as a playable animal, you can use your stars to purchase the rest of his animal companions, too. All of these unlockables, plus the game’s colorful aesthetic and characters, make Electric Tentacle a game that you can spend two minutes or two hours playing.