Platypus Review

Just so you’re aware, there are no actual platypuses in Platypus. That’s just the name of your little yellow fighter jet, which looks (like everything else in the game) to have been molded out of clay. Like the duck-billed mammal that lays eggs, Platypus stands out from the rest due to its strange appearance, although this shooter is a bit more familiar than the visual style might suggest.

The addition of wi-fi multiplayer is a nice touch.

Platypus originally came out last December, but a recently-added cooperative multiplayer mode over local wi-fi made us take a second look at this shooter, and we’re glad we did. With a second player, waves of enemies can be mowed down far easier, and even if this game doesn’t require much thought or strategy, it’s nice to have a second stream of bullets on your side of the screen.

If you stick to single player mode, Platypus is still an interesting game. The hand-modeled look of the backgrounds and ships is not too overt. Things only get really “squishy” when there is a big explosion on-screen, and you might forget sometimes that you are looking at clay models instead of more conventionally rendered graphics.

The look of the game is a big reason to check out Platypus, and it’s worth buying if you enjoy side-scrolling shooters like R-Type. Platypus plays it safe, however, with unremarkable weapons. From rockets to spread guns, none of the weapons in the game play off of the clay theme. You can also pick up flying fruit like bunches of grapes and bananas for bonus points, and these are much more in line with the creativity we expected from this title.

Claygasm all over your screen!

As a shooter, Platypus does a great job of nailing down some of the most important components. You can gain extra lives by earning points, and receive bonuses after each mission for your accuracy. Multiple control schemes, including touch and tilt, let you focus on the game itself, and you can even customize touch mode so that the ship stays out from directly under your finger. When you quit the game, you can pick up right where you left off, and if you start a new game you can skip ahead to any chapter you’ve already reached.

While the four chapters of Platypus will provide a good 3 hours or so of gameplay on medium difficulty, these chapters have little variety in terms of enemies. After several missions of the same few types of enemy planes and blue sky backgrounds, it’s only much later that new challenges like floating minefields, an erupting volcano that spews boulders (and gold coins!), and a flying yellow submarine boss appear. By the time the final boss explodes in a hail of grapes and bananas, you’ll probably be glad you stuck around to the end.

Besides three degrees of difficulties and an offline high score list, Platypus doesn’t contain many opportunities for replay value. The wi-fi multiplayer is a nice touch, however. A few intense moments aside, this casual shooter is more about easygoing and consistent progression, which suits the iPhone very well.

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