Up There Review

We wrote briefly about Veiled Games’ Payday Roulette in an App Store Medley a few months back, mentioning the game’s impressive grasp of camera movement and scaling. Well, if once is a fluke, twice is a trend–the developer’s new game, Up There, shows off similar visual smarts, while adding great tilt controls and audio to the mix.

Up There is a simple, gorgeous little game that’s clearly been designed with short play sessions in mind. A red balloon escapes from a cage and rockets skyward, dodging through narrow crannies in layers of bookshelves, attic floors, and tree branches. The camera gradually accelerates its upward scroll, forcing you to juke the phone around that much faster to avoid being caught by the bottom of the screen.

Meanwhile, the inspirational piano music grows more forceful, and your journey is punctuated by clever visual details, like mice sniffing around in the attic. When you do finally crap out against a barrier, your score’s posted to a global leaderboard, making you want to jump right back in.

There’s a lot to be said for minimalist game designs; if every sprite, background, sound, and movement is forged into a coordinated whole, even a one-trick pony can be a lot of fun. This is easier said than done, but games like Up There and PapiJump Plus are textbook examples.

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