Gesundheit! Review

Gesundheit! is the latest in the long line of action/puzzle games to hit your iPad and iPhone. It’s a game that manages to distinguish itself with a mix of charming, child-like graphics, a cute story line, and adorable characters. It also has a prime focus on flinging snot which, depending on your disposition, will either make the game even more hilarious or completely disgusting.

The mucus-filled epic begins when the poor little runt of a pig with severe allergies gets shunned by his peers, only to discover the possibility of love’¦ right before aliens attack his town and kidnap his would-be lady love. Thankfully, our porky hero has a secret weapon in his arsenal– snot. As it turns out, these bizarre invaders are mad for the stuff.

As the sneezy pig, it’s up to you to stop the alien invasion using a mix of fast moves, stealth, and well-flung snot. The single-minded aliens make an immediate beeline for any small green mucus mountains that appear in their field of vision. Since they’ll also eat anything that moves (especially pigs), snot-based distraction is a key facet to your survival.

Ah-CHOO!

If all this sounds disgusting and raunchy, well, by all rights it should very well be. Except, the game’s crayon drawing-like art style is just too cute to be off-putting. The characters and story line are adorable and the audio work– from the humorous sound effects to the snappy music– is equally well done.

As the levels advance, the game throws in teleport pads and various kinds of grasses and other allergens that give the pig new abilities when he’s standing on them. Certain grasses let him fling an elastic strand of goo to quickly flick from one area to another. Another lets him fling a giant blob of snot with super bouncy abilities.

The 40 levels generally fit on a single screen, and tend to be divided up into island-like sections. The object is to lure the aliens into bear traps where they’ll be eaten by a giant, blue worm. There are plenty of obstacles to hide behind and buttons to step on that will lower gates. You’ll have to carefully stay hidden from the aliens while getting to the pads and buttons, or fool the aliens into activating such devices.

Watch your step.

Most levels have multiple aliens to trap, and many of the puzzles are incredibly challenging. Stealth is kept rather primitive and the moment an alien sees you, he’ll come running. Sometimes their awareness seems a bit off– they can be either too sensitive to your location or totally ignore a nearby snot pile. As usual, there are three stars to get in each level. In this case, the bonus objects are fragile star fruit that are easily destroyed by a trampling alien or misplaced blob of snot.

The controls are laid out simply. Tapping on the screen will cause the pig to walk to that location. Using the standard sling-shot slide move over the pig will allow you to aim and fling. There are a few noticeable, though not unmanageable, issues with the controls. The game isn’t always responsive and path finding can be problematic. This forces you to only move the pig short distances at a time so he doesn’t break cover accidentally.

None of these complaints take away from the fact that Gesundheit! is a fun game. The quirky style and gameplay make it stand out, and it’s a great choice for anyone looking for a distinctive new puzzler.

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