Stick figures are a popular staple in iDevice games. From Doodle Vs. Brute: World Domination to Stick Stunt Biker, these simplistic representations of humans permeate the App Store. They are portrayed performing tasks from fighting to skating to surfing. The latter is the focus of Line Surfer, a popular side-scrolling surfing game. As we all know, however, popularity doesn’t necessarily mean quality.
Line Surfer is a very simple game. So simple, in fact, that it lacks depth. You control a stick figure who surfs along waves that appear on a graph paper backdrop. The animation has a clean-cut design which we found very appealing. The rolling blue waves are reminiscent of parabolas, which ties the math class doodle theme together well.
Graph paper has no grip!
There are three modes in Line Surfer: time, stunt, and free. In time mode, you attempt to travel as far as possible in either 30- or 60-second variations, with stunts earning you slightly more time. Stunt mode has the same time variations, and your goal is to garner points by performing stunts. Free mode is identical to stunt mode, but without the timers.
Controlling the surfer is easy. Tapping makes the surfer jump, and tilting the device controls the surfer’s movements in the air. Crates are littered throughout the mathematical sea, forcing you to jump and carefully land on the undulating waves. Stunts are simply flips, either forward or backward, determined by your tilting.
Shoulda worn the propeller armor.
You can also slow your surfer’s movement through the air. While this isn’t desirable most of the time, it can come in handy when a crate or airplane threatens your double backflip.
Most of Line Surfer’s appeal comes in the arcade-style pleasure of setting a high score and competing against that score, along with the scores of other players. GameCenter and OpenFeint both enable this in Line Surfer.
The social features and simply designed gameplay are the major redeeming factors of this game. Its limited scope and lack of variation in its modes, however, left us wanting, and consequently warning caution.