Pudge Review

The blowfish star of Binary Hammer’s Pudge is an aquatic version of “non-ambi-turner” Derek Zoolander: he can only swim from left to right. The point of this cute one-button game is to get him as far as possible without running into anything. Pudge is looking good, but it’s a little too basic to recommend wholeheartedly, even for 99 cents.

This is an attractive little game, to be sure. The undersea backgrounds are richly textured and the character sprites are sharp and detailed. We liked the way the menu system is entirely non-verbal, and we enjoyed the energetic salsa music, too–it reminded us of Super Mario World.

Pudge paddles to the right and sinks towards the ocean floor automatically, so there is exactly one thing for you to do in this game: touch the screen to make him swim upwards at the right time, to keep him from away from the floor, the ceiling, and various obstacles.

We’ve seen this gameplay in various guises many times, and it’s still enjoyable here, especially when you get a friend to race against you in split-screen. The problem is that the track itself is boring. You have to dodge around jellyfish, nautilus and the like, but there’s no powerups or bonus points to go for to generate risk-reward. Further, it takes far too long to reset the game when you die, and the game only seems to save a single high score at a time (there’s no online scoring, either).

Pudge is heading in the right direction–it’s already a good choice for kids, although the difficulty may be a bit tough–but we’d consider holding off for an update.

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